Locals lose battle to save memorial oaks

KMSS-TV
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 8:13pm

Early in the morning, while many were still asleep, First Baptist Church in Logansport cut down two 90 year old oak trees, but even then, many were on hand to watch the trees go down.

Dr. Frances Freeman watched with tears in her eyes as the trees that she loved went down. She loved the childhood memories that came with the trees, but even more than that, she appreciated the meaning of the trees. According to a Shreveport Times article from 1923, the trees that stood in front of Logansport High School were dedicated to men from Logansport that lost their lives in World War I.

After Logansport High School burnt down, and the school was relocated, First Baptist Church of Logansport bought the property the public school once graced. The church burnt down as well years later, but even then, the trees were safe.

As the church planned to expand from the areas they were currently using, their architect determined his plans would not work with the trees. The church then decided to cut the trees down.

Only finding out about the proposed plan about a week ago, Freeman went to work saving the trees. When it seemed that money would be an issue, the American Legion stepped in, offering to shoulder the cost of the trees completely. Freeman even looked into having the trees moved. Before she could start work on that, a source told her the trees would be cut down at 6am on Thursday.

Freeman went to the trees early Thursday morning, and was even carried off the property by deputies, but still she powered through, hoping somehow the trees would live. Around 6:30, her fears were realized, as chainsaws went to the trees. Within 40 minutes, both trees were down to stumps and Freeman was in tears.

When asked why they wouldn't wait to allow plans for the trees to be moved, the church said that was the decision that they made. The church also said that these trees were not the ones planted in memoriam of the veterans, although Freeman disagrees, using the newspaper article as her evidence.

Freeman and others know that there is nothing they can do to bring back their beloved oaks, but they hope that what has happened in Logansport causes others to think twice before getting rid of the past.

Freeman also stressed the kindness of the people cutting down the trees, who she says were sympathetic to the feelings of supporters, giving them pieces of the tree.

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