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Pledge: Keep old tree alive

Eileen JoyceElsie Peard looks up Friday at the branches of a red maple she hopes to save at School and Neal streets.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

One red maple.

In a city with a zillion trees, Elsie Peard, long-time member of Native Daughters of the Golden West, is wringing her hands over one red brandywine maple.

After all, it’s a historic treasure, said Peard, who helped dignify the tree on the corner of Neal and School streets in Grass Valley in 1976 with a marker.



Members of local Manzanita Parlor No. 29 place commemorative markers on historic sites such as stately trees, old buildings and remnants of the Gold Rush era.

The maple, known as the “Tremoureux tree,” subject for artists and photographers, was brought from the fields of Gettysburg, Pa., and planted in 1876 by the widow of John Rollin Ridge, editor of the Grass Valley National newspaper, the marker reads.




“They use to sit over at the bed-and-breakfast and paint it when it was in the morning sun and red,” said Peard.

She’s concerned about rumors that the shaggy-but-stately tree may have to come down soon.

“The city said the maple is going to die of old age,” said the 85-year-old Peard. “I guess some are just destined to die at 125 years old.”

Branches of the giant tree droop over the yard like a huge, leafy umbrella, casting shadows on the old Victorian home built by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Clinch in 1890.

“They can trim back the old branches and revive it so it can last a few more years,” said Peard of the tree that survived a fire which destroyed the original home built on the corner lot.

The owner of the property, Ruth Tremoureux, said she knows Peard is concerned about the tree.

“But tell Elsie not to worry yet; the tree’s all right,” she said.

Tremoureux said she had a lot of dead branches cut out of the tree a year ago, and that it’s looking much better, considering its age.

“I think it’s healthy enough right now, but eventually there may be a branch over the road that needs to come down,” she said.

Tremoureux hopes that this year the red maple will bust out in its usual display of color when the weather cools in autumn.

Tree admirers noted that none of the city’s maples were as pretty as usual last year.

“I think it’s universal that they don’t blossom sometimes,” Tremoureux said.


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