150-year-old oak tree felled to make way for highway
A 150-year-old burr oak tree was cut down Thursday to make room for the expansion of Highway 26, north of Milton to Fort Atkinson.
The oak measured 13 feet around and had a crown spread of almost 100 feet.
At least one online petition appealed to government officials at the last minute to save the historic tree, which had become a favorite landmark for many passers-by on the highway.
Mark Vesperman, project manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, said several people had contacted him about saving the tree.
“They asked if we could move the road to avoid the tree,” Vesperman said in a recent Gazette story. “But, if we moved the road, it impacted more trees, wetlands and more agricultural land.”
The Jefferson County Parks Department had requested a slab of the trunk, possibly to put along the bike trail that parallels Highway 26, north from the Rock County line.