Last week’s Georgetown Current had an article on the plans to restore several of the locks of the C & O Canal. Specifically, Locks 3 and 4 are targeted for major repairs. And the Current briefly noted that the “bust of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas will be temporarily moved, and the tree above the bust will be removed.”
Sadly, this tree is not a scraggly or short tree. It is a huge and healthy maple tree. It provides a giant pool of welcome shade in throughout summer. It used to couple with another large tree just up the path to create an even larger shady courtyard, but that other tree was cut down recently.
Here’s the tree in 1977, already providing a cooling space to crowds gathering to dedicate the bust on May 17, 1977:
It’s a shame to cut down such a lovely tree. Yes, it is evidently necessary to completely rebuild the lock. And yes, it appears to be a Norway Maple, an invasive species often derided by arborists as “Euro Trash”. But it is a shame nonetheless. It will take another generation before the scene you see above will be seen again.