Work crews have begun cutting a Santa Monica landmark down to size: a giant 99-year-old eucalyptus tree that once stood 130 feet high and measured more than 17 feet around at its base.
By Saturday, the tree will be gone.
Public works officials in Santa Monica ordered the tree's removal after a giant branch snapped loose and crushed a car earlier this month.
Santa Monica designated the rare Eucalyptus Deanei a city landmark in 2003. According to the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission, local horticulturalist Hugh Evans planted the tree in 1913, choosing a species of eucalyptus that can grow 250 feet tall in its native Australian forest habitat.
For one more day, the landmark tree — or at least, most of it — still stands in Faith and Harry Rumack’s front yard.
The Rumacks' son Asher, 26, says it’s hard to see the big tree go.
“My room is sort of in the front, over the driveway and it’s always kind of stood over my room," said Rumack. "I’ve always kind of felt protected by it and every morning look out to it. And it’s really part of our family. I would almost consider it the oldest member of our family.”
Tree cutters are chopping down the eucalyptus in sections, starting with biggest branches, some of which weigh nearly a ton.