January 2008, the Old Oak tree in Linfield’s Oak Grove crashed to the ground. Linfield had already been doing its best to keep it from tumbling, but unfortunately, cables and cement were not enough to save the Old Oak. Although extreme preventative measures were not enough to save this memorabilia, parts of the Old Oak have been used in other places around Linfield to continue the Old Oak’s life at Linfield.
As soon as the Old Oak fell, Tim Stewart, Linfield’s environmental services superintendent, organized a team to collect every bit of the beloved tree.
“We saved every last scrap including sawdust,” Allison Horn, Linfield’s director of facilities and auxiliary services, said.
“I saved everything,” Stewart said. “People thought I was nuts. I had cleaning services out there with brooms and dust pans.”
Pieces of the Old Oak were milled on site in order to be prepared for future building projects.
“We had a mobile sawmill come in and start cutting it up into planks,” Stewart said. “We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we wanted to do something with it before it all fell apart.”
Various pieces of furniture around campus have been built out of wood from the Old Oak. These serve as reminders of the majestic tree. Starbucks has the highest concentration of wood from the Old Oak, on the bar cladding, the chair rail, the counter top and the plaque that tells the story of the Old Oak. Other buildings and rooms have accent tables, podiums and window benches. The acorn bowl and pedestal stand used in the new Linfield acorn tradition were also made from the Old Oak.
The facilities team is planning on possibly creating a committee that would focus on sifting through ideas for the Old Oak.
“It was a beloved and iconic tree on campus,” Horn said. “Knowing the community, I think there was no way that they weren’t going to save every last bit. We want to make something that will last, that will do it justice and hopefully be able to tell the story in different areas around campus.”
Gilberto Galvez/Features editor
Gilberto Galvez can be reached at email@example.com
A plaque telling the story of the Old Oak hangs on the wall of Linfield’s Starbucks. When the Old Oak fell, no one could bear to see it disappear. Facilities stored the remains of the Old Oak in a warehouse next to the Facilities building. The wood has been used to create various pieces of furniture that inhabit various locations around the campus.
Various Linfield publications sit on an accent table made from the Old Oak in the Office of Academic Affairs.
A conference table made out of the remains of the Old Oak is located in Melrose Hall in the office of Linfield’s President, Thomas Hellie.
A piece of the Old Oak’s trunk decorates the Office of Academic Affairs in Walker Hall.
Linfield’s Starbucks contains a high concentration of wood from the Old Oak, from the counter tops to the bar
cladding. A chair rail made from the Old Oak also runs along the wall of the building.
Two window benches made from the Old Oak make their home in Taylor Hall.
A wood cookie sits on the desk of Thomas Hellie, president of Linfield College.
All photos by Rosa Johnson