Gone but not forgotten

GHENT–Russell Kipp, the new owner of the house on Route 66 in the hamlet of Ghent had the unenviable task of removing a local landmark last month, the old black walnut tree that grew through a hole in his front porch.

Mr. Kipp, who purchased the house from the previous owner’s estate, said he had planned to keep the tall tree as it was. “Neighbors don’t want the tree removed but the insurance companies all say: The tree has got to go,” he said. He couldn’t insure the property with the tree still standing.

When it came down, it was rotten on the inside, a fact not immediately apparent to passersby.

“The black walnut trees on the property have fed many squirrels over the years,” said Chuck Wood, a next door neighbor. He remembers growing up and climbing onto the roof to decorate the tree for Christmas. He also recalls photos taken in the 1930s of the house with the tree already growing through the porch.

“It’s a little sad,” said Mr. Wood. “The tree has been a landmark in town for as long as I can remember. I’ve used it to help people find my house: “just before the house with the tree through the porch.”

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