A tree finally succumbs to disease, leaving a hole in a neighborhood

Article from the Boston Globe  / By Eric Moskowitz GLOBE STAFF  FEBRUARY 11, 2017

It arrived as a sapling when the Back Bay was in its infancy, a spindly American elm tamped down into a square of dirt cut into the brick sidewalk of 1880s Marlborough Street, no higher than the first bay window of the new brownstone behind it.

It survived air pollution and dog urine and crumpled papers, the nibbling of the horses that pulled the carriages and dragged the streetcars, too. It outlasted their hoofbeats and the trolley tracks that ran down Marlborough and even the paving stones in which those tracks were laid, fanning out over the generations of automobiles that followed.

The elm, known to neighbors in recent years as the BOE, or Big Old Elm, grew tall and it grew strong, tapering in and out again like a seven-story wine glass, its long limbs arching high above the rooftops, its broad leaves shading the sidewalk from the summer sun and turning golden in the fall...

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