Where are the cedars?

Memorial trees should be remembered . . . right? I mean, they are planted to remind us of . . . something, or . . . someone. They are typically trees that will be around for a long time, because that is how important memories should be. Redwoods and oaks work nicely. Most get outfitted with plaques to remind everyone what the trees are there to remind us of.

The old original Sunnyvale City Hall was landscaped with several memorial trees. The most prominent were redwoods and cedars that were mostly planted as memorials for local veterans of various wars. They accumulated over several decades and a few wars. City Hall seemed like a good place for them, where they could live for a long time without bother.

However, City Hall was demolished in the late 1970s, and replaced with a big mall. The larger redwood and cedar memorial trees were salvaged as the mall was build around them. Most survived in a courtyard within the mall until the mall was partly demolished less than a quarter of a century later.

All the cedar memorial trees died in captivity within the courtyard. One redwood that was not a memorial was added to the group where one of the cedars had been.

Prior to the demolition of the courtyard, I needed to inspect the surviving redwood to prescribe procedures for safe removal of surface pavement, and subsequent protection of exposed roots. The surviving trees were in remarkably good health. I was not very worried about them. What bothered me though, was the complete disregard for their historical significance.

The plaques associated with these memorial trees were a mess. It was as if they all had been collected from their respective trees, mixed up, and replaced randomly. Plaques from the absent cedars were assigned to some of the surviving redwoods. The oldest and grandest memorial redwood was labeled as the redwood that was added last, after the mall was built, and therefore of no historical significance. The smallest and youngest redwood that really was added after the mall was built was labeled as one of the more historically significant memorial trees.

I believe that all the trees that were there during my inspection are still quite healthy within a small park space that was built around them. I have no idea if they are outfitted with plaques. If they are, I can not help but doubt the accuracy of those plaques.

7 thoughts on “Horridculture – Memorials

  1. That was truly careless of whoever should have been responsible for keeping plaques and trees together.

    Whenever I hear someone say a memory will be forever…or something like a forever home for an animal rescue….I get all cynical and say that forever is a loooong time. But it would be nice if a plaque could at least last for a couple of centuries.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would have been less insulting if the plaques were just removed. The insensitivity was offensive. My ancestors lived in Sunnyvale when it was not much more than a train station. There is not much they would remember there now. No one seems to care about what it was.


    1. Perhaps I should not have brought it up again. The Memorial Trees that we installed here lack designation. Some are almost inaccessible, so are only visible from a few yards away. They will become more visible as they mature. The one that is accessible is in a situation where a plaque would be a tripping hazard. Besides, for those whom the trees are important to, such designation is unimportant. We know what they are.


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