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Friends cut down 200-year-old tree in Lanesboro

Fri, May 17th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Home & Garden

Nathan Arnold (left), Carla Joseph, and Kevin Hoeltzle, all of Lanesboro, with the saw they used to cut down a tree that is older than Lanesboro itself. Photo by Jade Sexton

By Jade Sexton

The huge white oak tree fell over during a storm last summer in the backyard of Dona Conway. The fallen tree took up much of the backyard, and it remained there most of the summer until a group of Amish cut it up and hauled the brush away for firewood. What was left standing was a tall, bare trunk.

This spring, Nathan Arnold and Carla Joseph have been housesitting for Conway while she visits family in Austria. Nathan was helping his friend Kevin Hoeltzle move when he noticed that he owned a large two-man crosscut saw. He suggested they use it to cut down the tree.

When Kevin saw the tree, he thought maybe Nathan had been joking. The tree was a lot bigger than he thought it would be. Together, after sharpening the old saw, they spent six hours cutting it down, not an easy task, as the cut was low.

“We wanted to get it as low to the ground as possible,” explained Nathan.

After a couple of hours, Carla came out to see what they were doing. “I didn’t really think they were going to do it,” she said. “Then I got suckered into helping.”

The job was a workout for them, and was made more difficult by the fact that the tree was starting to rot, and there was ice inside that melted as they worked.

“It’s hard to find a cut that smooth,” said Kevin of the end result.

Nate made an attempt to count the rings in the old tree, but had a difficult time seeing all of them. “I got about one-third of the way through, and I got to 75,” he said. “It must be close to 200 years old.”

Lanesboro was founded in 1885, meaning this tree was standing before the town was there, and before people built their homes around it.

“I don’t think anyone has cut down a tree using a crosscut saw for about a hundred years,” said Kevin.

The group of friends is planning to have someone come look at the tree to find out its exact age. Nate is planning on making a chair out of the trunk they cut down, but using a chainsaw this time.

When asked why they chose to use the crosscut saw, Nate replied, “Just to see if it could be done.”

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