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Powerful Storm Claims Yet Another Historic Elm

Thu, 05/23/2024 - 14:48
A landmark elm lost a large limb during the intense storm on Thursday morning.
Bess Rattray Photos

The mighty storm that blew through East Hampton Thursday morning felled a large limb from a historic elm tree — one of a dwindling number of such trees that help give East Hampton Village its character.

Rooted in the South End Cemetery on Main Street near Mill Road, the tree was among those looked after and cherished by the Ladies Village Improvement Society. Its limb crashed down onto headstones and a work van parked nearby.

“It was so beautiful. The leaves on it were magnificent. It’s my favorite American elm,” said Olivia Brooks, who chairs the L.V.I.S. Tree Committee.

While the future of the tree is uncertain, Ms. Brooks said its chance of survival does not look good. “I am 99 percent sure,” she said, “but I believe they’re going to have to take that tree down.” 

While East Hampton is famous for beautiful beaches and ocean vistas, Ms. Brooks noted that when you are entering the village, it is not the sand or water you see first, but rather these historic elms.

“They are the character — they’re the environmental culture of East Hampton,” she said. 

As many of these trees were planted around the same time, their age is beginning to creep from their roots to their limbs. In February, village crews took down two huge elms, estimated at 80 to 100 years old each, that were in prominent spots downtown: one in front of Louis Vuitton, the other in front of J. Crew, at the intersection of Main Street and Newtown Lane. 

The Star reported at the time that there were just under 100 American elms left in the village. There is likely one fewer, now.

“Life goes on,” Ms. Brooks said. “Trees are like us — they age.”

She later added, “It’s so sad to see an old friend go.”


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A Surprise Guest at ACAC Meeting

The Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee had a surprise guest Monday night, Natalie Mongan, a junior at East Hampton High School. Ms. Mongan presented her own independent research, done through an A.P. research seminar, showing the level of erosion at Atlantic Avenue Beach that can not only affect shoreline defense, but shift the coastline itself.

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Item of the Week: Remembering Dorothy Horton, 1899-1917

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