History of Meeting Trees: Way back before streets and houses, the Meeting Tree was a notable tree, an easily identifiable tree in the landscape which served as a community gathering spot for social, political, or a place to solve community issues. This tree in the Ben and Louise Jones’ property on S.W. 63rd apparently served this role. Louise has shared these photos of the current tree. Sometimes these trees continue to be the bus stop or sign post for travelers.
By Elaine Shreve, 2023
A stranger came to the door one evening 20-plus years ago and asked if they could see the Meeting Tree in our backyard. It was the first time we had heard of it. Seems that the dairymen of the area would meet under the tree and talk about local issues and how to resolve them. 63rd Avenue was known as Lilac Lane in those days; long before the 50’s houses were built.
The tree is a very old maple. It had been supported with wires as it aged. One limb the size of a regular tree broke off and dangled from those wires. A tree surgeon roped up and carefully removed it. A few years later, a family of raccoons took up residence, alerting us that the center of the tree was hollow. In fact, the middle of the tree had rotted, putting the huge limbs in danger of falling on people and houses. We had the tree cut down, but saved the bottom 12 feet of trunk – we just couldn’t bear to remove it altogether. And now, new shoots have grown out of the base, like a very large vase of maple leaves. The tree seems to live on.
By Ben Jones, January 6, 2012
After living 100 plus years, cabling to hold it together, breaking off huge branches, and serving as a home for a large family of raccoons our beautiful meeting tree had to be cut down. We asked the tree surgeon to save 10 feet or so of the trunk. New life has emerged with tall limbs seeking the sun. We miss the lovely graceful maple tree it once was, but we like this reminder of its history.
By Dr. Ben and Louise Cook Jones, 2023