1968: Civil War Era Landmark Disappears

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
For decades, the massive elm on the east side of the public library on Locust Street was an impressive city landmark. A story handed down through generations stated that during the Civil War many important meetings were held under this particular tree. However by November 1968 the giant was considered unsafe due to several dead limbs. Sho-Me Power Corporation provided two workers to join city street employees Sam Griffin, Elmer Murphey and Joe Davis to bring the tree down with chainsaws and axes. No one knew how old it might have been but some said it appeared that three small trees might have grown together to form one large tree according to growth rings found in the huge stump. At its base, the tree measured 15 feet, three inches in circumference and ‘towered skyward like a magnificent giant,’ The Prospect-News recalled. After much thoughtful planning and speculation as to the best method of removal, the procedure of bringing it down required 10 hours and produced 12 loads of timber and debris. Pictured above are Junior Trantham and Theo Gowers, Sho-Me Power employees from Marshfield, standing in front of the large trunk shortly after the tree fell.
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