This area of Chicago…

…where I live was called ‘Birchwood’ by the original residents, who began building homes along the northernmost lakefront back in the 1910s. There were woods filled with white birch trees, which must have been an amazing sight…the paper-white birchbark against the stunning, ever-changing blues of Lake Michigan!

One hundred years later, there are only a few birch trees left; as a matter of fact, seven of them, at least eighty years old, were hacked down about five blocks north of my building just this past Autumn!

I’ve been told that the City of Chicago is removing paper-white birch trees because they are infested by some type of pest; I’ll do some research and have more on that at a later date.

This tree stands in the front corner of a ‘garden/yard’, a bit more than a block north.  It looks quite old and not in the best of health, yet it has set leaves each of the previous five Springs since I moved here.  Hence, I have given it the title:

Among the Last

Among the Last


6 responses to “This area of Chicago…

  1. The Birches are beautiful and such a shame they were chopped down. I look forward to your research…interestingly, a few years ago a number of historic trees were cut down here in Australia because they were ‘infested’ with something. Very convenient when someone else has other plans for the area? I can’t remember all the details but I do remember a lot of people weren’t happy.

    • Ah, yes, Lancer…we mustn’t impede ‘progress’, must we? The seven cut down were hacked away because the alderman found money to redo the street/sidewalks…though where these trees were is off on a side street! They DID have an awful lot of nasty ‘graffiti’ carved into them over the years (gang-related, ugly stuff!), but the trees themselves looked quite healthy, and were older than the tree in the image.

    • I just found another paper-white in a private courtyard yesterday. I didn’t shoot it (on my way to an appointment, running late), but will go back. It’s younger, and really ‘white’! Don’t really believe the ‘infested’ business…the City of Chicago works in very strange, corrupt ways.

      • We had the opposite here a few years ago, there were some trees growing that are not native, but they got some beetle in them that was killing them, the local councils spent thousands and thousands to save them, and for what? I could understand it if they were native and important to the area, but for some imported European tree, no, I thought it was crazy.

      • That is crazy! The paper-whites ARE native here, and those I’ve seen look quite healthy…but they get replaced with some really ‘trashy’ type of locust tree, which litters the sidewalks and no one cleans up the litter! They get them cheaply from overseas nurseries, and expect them to grow well…but Chicago has a weird climate–the temp can change 50=60 degrees in several hours! So they chop them down and replace them with a smaller version of the same type! Nutzoid!

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