- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ATHENS, Ill. (AP) - Workers had to take down a massive white oak tree that’s believed to be about 260-years-old in the central Illinois town of Athens.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (https://bit.ly/1Slppy9 ) that the Gudgel Oak was a victim of the 2012 drought despite efforts to save it. The tree dates to the 1750s - before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Athens is about 15 miles north of Springfield.

Local arborist Guy Sternberg says he thought the tree had another few decades to live “but the 2012 drought annihilated some of the older trees.” He says the oak’s roots were likely compromised because of its proximity to the road.

Grace Minor owns Area Wide Tree and Stump Removal. She said taking down the tree is a “privilege” given its history.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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