Oak Street, sadly, is a lot less oaky this morning.
Tuesday morning’s storm brought down what many believe to have been the oldest oak tree—if not the oldest tree period—in Western Springs, an over 200-year-old behemoth that splintered and crashed into the front yard of a home on the 4000 block of Central Avenue at about 6:20 a.m.
“I talked to the tree-removal crew, and they sort of confirmed that they thought it was the oldest oak tree in Western Springs,” said home resident Peggy Burtker. “I’m really kind of heartbroken about it. It provided us with a ton of shade—it was just a beautiful old oak tree.”
The tree’s outer branches fell into the Burtkers’ Old Town north home, smashing a living-room window, impaling a wall and—most dangerously—severing a gas-meter line, releasing natural gas into the home.
But the bulk of the tree missed the house, which the Burtkers called a final gift from the oak that so long shaded their front lawn. The family was completely unharmed, and the home only grazed.
“We feel really lucky because the tree truly didn’t hit the house,” Peggy Burtker said. “If the tree had hit our house, we would have had much more damage… It was just an adventure for the morning.”
Neighbors passed by the home all morning, expressing surprise and dismay at the casualty. The and a tree-removal crew cleared the felled oak; as of Tuesday evening, only the shattered stump remained beside two ripped-up squares of sidewalk.
“In the neighborhood, that tree is sort of a landmark, always has been,” said next-door neighbor Dennis Mason (who captured most of the above photos.) “That’s just been the tree in the neighborhood… so you’ve got to be disappointed when you see something like that go down.”
As with two , the maelstrom left branches scattered throughout the entire Village. The Western Springs Public Works Department is continuing to clear the downed branches from the Village’s parkways.
Lt. Dave Dayhoff of the confirmed that large trees also fell on the 4600 block of Wolf Road and the 4400 block of Harvey Avenue, and that power was lost to some homes in the northwest of the Village.