New Bench, Former Tree

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BY: EDWARD FRYREAR

Did you know that once upon a time there was a tree in the quad?! A Blue Atlas Cedar tree no less! I don’t mean over by the library or between the admin building and the chapel, I mean legitimately in the very same patch of grass we host our welcome back events. Right by the place Kent parks his lawn mower and keeps a lot of his grounds keeping tools. It might surprise you to know that this was no small tree, in fact it stretched quite high almost as if it was determined to stretch higher than the Admin building and touch the sky. You might be asking, why isn’t it there now and what did they do when they cut it down? Well I’m here to inform you of that magnificent tree’s journey from a staple of the quad, to a new place to sit for future generations to enjoy.

It all started in the year 2009, it was determined that the Blue Atlas Cedar wasn’t going to make it. This was unfortunate because the tree had a very quick growth when it was planted and people expected it to stay for a long time. Instead of simply uprooting the tree and leaving no token of remembrance behind (besides some photos where it served as a nice back drop) a company called Nelson Tree Care decided to cut it down and do something special. The man behind the company, Bruce Nelson, thought it would make a fine bench to be donated back to the school. With the help of Mike Wallis of Miller Paint and Toni and Cliff Davis of Cliff Paintings Inc., the project began to remake this former giant into another magnificent landmark. Starting as raw materials and cuts of cedar, after some extensive woodwork and some delicate craftsmanship, a bench was completed in just under a year. The bench, although finished, remained in pieces and stayed in storage over in the basement of the fraternity house that has infamous ties to the movie Animal House.

After about 5 years in storage, it was finally brought out and assembled in all of its glory. It now resides in our court yard, right near the Mill Race I believe. It just goes to show, with some crafty hands and great spirit; you can make a piece of art out of what was once a beloved and thriving tree, which could have easily just been chopped down and tossed away. Thank you so much Bruce Nelson, Mike Wallis, Toni and Cliff Davis for giving this tree the proper homecoming it deserves and the opportunity to be appreciated by alumni and aspiring student.

Please watch Cliff Davis Painting Inc.’s Youtube video to see the full transformation.