A short time after 7:30 Wednesday morning, a bucket loader from Distinctive Tree Care drove up to the intersection of Center Road and Crestridge Drive. It pulled into the driveway of the classic colonial house across the intersection and then back up into the street.
It was soon joined by a few Department of Public Works trucks, Tree Warden Jeff Shambach, a vehicle that loads large limbs onto trucks and a large construction crane.
Yes. It was time to take on THE TREE.
The tree, a massive elm located in the front yard of the home, close to the road, is - or was - arguably one of the largest in town. It was damaged several years ago when a catch basin was installed as part of a project to improve sidewalks along Center Road, a community with a lot of students who to and from school with the exception of special education and afternoon kindergarten buses.
Over the years, the tree received deep-root fertilization treatments but it became clear over the past, say, two years that it was dying a slow death and do not resuscitate was being highlighted on its chart.
Somehow, it survived the winter of 2010-11, Hurricane Irene, an alleged earthquake in the area (some residents say they felt nothing), and the winter storm of October.
A huge tree limb just down the hill fell across the road during that storm, but the huge tree did not flinch.
But it was still dying and some of its branches spanned the entire width of Center Road, right over several wires. When the brush clearing from the snowstorm was under control, Schambach turned his focus to the Center Road tree. It is technically not in the municipal right of way, but the reasoning behind the town taking care of its removal was related to it being damaged during a town construction project, he said.
One woman did stop to yell at him for that, and he politely explained the situation to her.
South Windsor-based Distinctive was secured to do the work and Schambach set a goal of 2 p.m. to get the tree down, which was accomplished so there was no disruption in the school bus routes.
OK, there was one.
Schambach said he alerted the bus company that residents, buses and emergency vehicles would be let through the road closure barricades, but the bus company decided to honor the detour and two afternoon kindergarteners had to scramble their way up the hill from the Crestridge stop to Winding Brook Trail to get the bus to Center Road School.
The families and the bus driver seemed to get a good laugh over it all.
Just before 2, the street sweeper made its last pass. The tree was officially down.
On Thursday morning, as the last few large logs were being loaded into a dump truck, Schambach took the official trunk measurement - 48 inches. It is close to 5 feet in one section that flares out.
Schambach said at one point, the tree was considered one of the oldest standing elms in the state, but he was still trying to confrim that this week with state officials.