Thursday, August 26, 2010

229/365 - EERC Tree Obituary

Rings on a tree stump.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

The EERC Tree was found dead this morning at the age of 100. It lived a full (if somewhat crooked) life.

EERC Tree was born some time around the year 1910, in the middle of the campus of the Michigan College of Mines. As a young pine, it stood near the old highway. As it grew, it became known for its curious 30 degree tilt from vertical, caused by some combination of tall buildings, steam tunnels, and hard winters. The tree saw many changes, as campus grew up around it. In 1974, its namesake (the Electrical Energy Resources Center) was built nearby, conveniently taking its name from the tree (and solving a long-standing mystery concerning its name).

EERC Tree was much loved as a campus landmark. Throughout its long life, it was regularly elected to be the student government president, Homecoming queen, and Winter Carnival queen. It was also a dividing point for campus-wide games of capture the flag, and a frequent waypoint for drunken students stumbling home.

"I always loved the EERC tree. It was the only tree I could climb just by getting a good running start" said David Clark, a local graduate student.

In recent years, EERC Tree suffered from several unidentified maladies, causing it to slowly lose branches. In the end, it is perhaps best that it was put out of its pain at this time. It is suspected that ninjas from the MTU facilities crew did the deed, sometime between 9 pm Monday and 8 am Tuesday.

EERC tree is survived by its elder brother Big Oak, its many younger siblings in the Nobel Laureate Grove, and a gigantic number of children spread throughout the greater Houghton-Hancock area.

A recent photo may be viewed here. It will be dearly missed.

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