Wind downs 100-year-old trees at Main Street home

A tree lies over a crushed fence at an Evanston home on the corner of Main and 4th streets after a period of high winds Wednesday evening. Two large pine trees at the home, owned by Eric and Joice Mander, fell during the windstorm, and Joice Mander said they were both over 100 years old. No one was hurt during the incidents. (COURTESY PHOTO/ David Biebinger)

EVANSTON — Eric and Joice Mander had already settled in for a quiet evening at home on Wednesday, Aug. 5, when they received a call about a downed tree at an Evanston Main Street house they’re renovating. They rushed to check it out and found two massive pine trees had been blown down during some intense wind gusts.

Joice said the house on the corner of Main and 4th streets is one of several in the area they’ve purchased in the past few years and are in the process of renovating. The house itself is about 115-120 years old, said Joice Mander, and she believes the pine trees surrounding it were planted sometime in the first two decades of the house’s existence, so they were at least 100 years old. To her knowledge, they were some of the first trees planted in the early days of that neighborhood.

There were originally six trees, she said, but one was apparently cut down some time ago as only the stump remains on the property. Two came down unexpectedly Wednesday evening and Mander said one more now needs to be removed because of damage.

Mander said fortunately no one was injured when the trees came down, although a truck was damaged when a passerby stopped across the street after the first tree came down. The driver of that truck, identified as Dakota Fry by Mander’s daughter Tera Lawlar, was luckily not hurt when the second tree came down and hit the bed of his truck.

Mander said the trees appeared even more massive when down in the streets and she assumed it would take days to have them removed. However, she was amazed when crews from the city arrived and went to work.

Mander said she’s not even sure who called them, although Evanston Police Department officers were on scene to help manage the situation as one tree was blocking traffic on Main Street, while the other had fallen at an angle at an intersection, blocking traffic on both Main and 4th streets.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Mander said of how quickly city crews had cleared the debris. She said she was extremely impressed with how the crew worked together to cut the trees into what she estimated were about 8-foot sections. Mander said the equipment used was equally impressive.

“It was just amazing watching them work together and with that equipment,” she said.

In fact, Mander said the speedy clean-up by City of Evanston employees turned a stressful situation into something unexpected. “I just feel such a sense of pride in Evanston and in those guys working together,” she said. “It was just such a great job they did.”

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