If you live in Eldersburg, you may have seen the large white oak tree on Stafford Court off of Ridge Road. The tree was HUGE! We once looked at a house for sale on this street when we were looking to move to Eldersburg. I remember commenting about how large the tree was.
Last night we heard an amazing storm. It was like a strobe-light session with a entourage of howitzers having a competition. Flashes of lighting and chest-thumping cracks of thunder woke me around 11:45. The wind was whipping the trees sideways and the rain was smacking the side of our house. It was one of those top ten storms of the year kind of storms. I knew that the next morning would uncover some damage around the neighborhood.
I was almost disappointed when I didn't see much damage on my way to work this morning, but once I checked Facebook I saw posts of some big trees down all over the metro Eldersburg megalopolis area. The one that caught my eye was the big white oak tree on Stafford Court.
Tonight was a running night, so I decided to make Stafford Court part of my route. My quick 8:45/mile pace came to a jolting stop as I turned onto Stafford Court from Ridge Road. The massive tree lay on its side aiming across the road. The trunk stood taller than a man. Trees on the other side of the street were not spared. Large limbs littered the cul-de-sac, areas far enough away from the old wooden ghost that you would have though they would have been safe over there.
The property owner was outside, so I fired up a conversation with him. He said the previous owner of the house had heard that it was about 285 years old. In fact, the original owner, well, previous-previous owner, would occasionally come around and collect the fallen acorns to plant elsewhere. Another neighbor joined the conversation and said that she once read that it was estimated that the tree was the 4th oldest tree in Carroll County.
285 years? Let's put this in perspective. That means the tree started growing in 1730. Benjamin Franklin was in his 20's. Britain ruled the colonies. The tree was already 59 years old when George Washington became President of the United States. This tree was already 100 years old when Andrew Jackson was President. That was an old tree.
The tree across the street suffered the wrath of mother nature and the Earth's gravity during the storm when the massive white oak tree sheered the tree nearly in half.
Carroll County sent trucks at 2am to clear the street of the tree so that emergency vehicles could get through the mess. It almost looks as if the old legend's limbs shattered from the core when it hit the ground.