Remembering the Sparkill White Ash Tree

Sparkill White Ash 2004On Saturday, January 10 the Orangetown community gathered to bid farewell to the county’s oldest known tree. Located in Sparkill, the 350-year-old White Ash Tree-once considered the largest champion white ash-had been struggling over the past decade.

Dead for the past two years, it was finally removed Saturday. Many will remember the former Tony’s Lobster House recently torn down in the photo below (Thanks to Phil Delorenzo for this 2004 photo in 2004). Fifty years ago the tree oversaw Bruno’s where you might have seen Edie Gorme and Paul Anka and more recently Tony’s Lobster House. The current location of Sparkill Steakhouse, the restaurant owners gladly offered a place for the community to gather to mark the tree’s death and removal. The Orangetown Shade Commission organized the event.

A hundred years ago this ash watched over Henry Chownes who ran one of the many local hotels. It has been more than two centuries since this ash tree – old then – offered some seeds to a passerby who passed through occasionally on military business. George Washington was greatful for the chance to plant these seeds at Mt. Vernon.

Supervisor Andy Stewart said, “If trees could speak, what would this one say, having seen hundreds of years of Sparkill history? I’m happy we are able to celebrate the life of this tree, and draw attention to the good work of the Town Shade Tree Commission, the Sparkill Watershed Alliance and the nearby tree planting project aimed at improving water quality in the Sparkill Creek.”