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Helen Keller's Beloved Climbing Tree Cut Down

Deaf News: Cut down a popular 200-year-old oak tree at the Alabama childhood home of Helen Keller.

TUSCUMBIA - Section by section, the sprawling water oak plummeted Monday onto the grounds of Ivy Green at the hands of a whirring chainsaw.

Sue Pilkilton, executive director of Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, watched the tree’s presence in the front yard dwindle.

“Isn’t that the saddest thing?” Pilkilton lamented. “We have tried for years to save that tree.”

Having stood for more than 200 years, the tree had particular significance in Keller’s young life. She enjoyed climbing it as a child, and once became stranded there in the midst of a storm until her teacher, Anne Sullivan, came to her rescue, Pilkilton said.

“Miss Sullivan had to climb up there and get her,” she said.

Members of the board that oversees the historic tourist attraction had no alternative but to order the tree removed. A look inside its trunk revealed why. It was hollowed from years of decay and insect infestation.

In July, part of the tree fell during a storm that packed an EF1 tornado... Read more:
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