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Bakersfield's Liberty Tree cutdown due to declining health

Posted at 11:43 PM, Dec 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 02:43:42-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After decades of serving as a symbol of freedom and patriotism, the Liberty Tree on Truxtun avenue was cutdown this weekend. City officials say the trees health was declining and it was time to be removed. The large cedar tree once served as a backdrop to the Veteran's Memorial and in 2010 was officially dedicated by the Bakersfield City Council.

“Originally the liberty tree stood for freedom, courage, solidarity,” longtime City Council member Jacquie Sullivan said.

For decades, this spot was intended to be a gathering place.

"This is really a very nice location and I’m sure many, many, many people, have read this plaque and learned a little bit more about our early American history," Sullivan said.

Longtime Bakersfield City Council member Jacquie Sullivan says the idea of the Liberty Tree was born in Boston when some of our Founding Fathers formed an organization called Sons of Liberty. Their meeting place was a large elm tree that eventually became known as the Liberty Tree.

“It first became significant back in the 1700s during the American revolution and at that time they had the Liberty Tree, a place that they could assemble and practice free speech," Sullivan said.

And in 2010 alongside a Bakersfield resident, Sullivan helped establish the Bakersfield Liberty Tree.

“The concept was presented by Jayson Mixon about the Liberty Tree back in Boston during the revolutionary war so he mentioned it to me, I thought it was a good idea, another place is assemble with free speech," Sullivan said.

And that year Bakersfield joined a long list of cities nationwide that have designated its own Liberty Tree.

“Approved by the Bakersfield City Council on June 30, 2010," Sullivan said.

But due to the trees decline in health, its been cutdown.

“The tree had become unstable so it needed to be removed," Sullivan said.

She says the city has a new plan for the tree.

“They found another substitute down at Jastro park by the new Kern County World War II Veteran's Memorial that is being built," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says she is grateful the legacy of the Liberty Tree will continue.

"I appreciate them caring enough about our history and what is important to our community very much appreciate them relocating, finding another tree that’s appropriate and relocating this wonderful plaque its a beautiful plaque," Sullivan said.