Sandy Springs’ most notable tree to be removed due to safety concerns

This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)
Caption
This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)

A tree that was likely around when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman torched Atlanta is being taken down.

The city of Sandy Springs said experts told them last week that the dying tree must be removed because it is a safety hazard.

The white oak, which has a trunk five feet in diameter, sits inside the city’s Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park off Dalrymple Road.

Its canopy is lush and provides wide shade, but the tree is being hollowed out by a fungus, said Sandy Springs’ landscape manager Michael Barnett. He said if tree were in the middle of the woods they’d likely leave it be, but the tree is leaning over a historic cottage in the park.

Caption
This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)

This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)
Caption
This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)

The century-old bungalow can be rented to the public and has been used for city council retreats. So the city fears a delay could be a deadly mistake.

“We can’t not do it,” he said. “… We got a target right there.”

Barnett said there’s no timeline or estimated cost for the tree’s removal, but he said the city will have to hire contractors to do the work.

He estimates the tree to be 125 to 200 years old. It sits beside a similarly massive white oak 4.5 feet in diameter that is healthy enough to stay, but Barnett said he’ll have to keep an eye on it.


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The tree being removed, he said, is probably the most notable tree in the city.The cottage and the property around the tree have a rich history.

Trisha Thompson, co-founder and president of Friends of Lost Corner, said a century ago the home belonged to the Miles family. The father, Fred Miles, worked for Georgia Power — the property is near the Morgan Falls Dam — selling electricity.

Caption
This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)

This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)
Caption
This white oak, which is five feet in diameter, sits for now in Lost Corner Preserve, a 24-acre park in Sandy Springs. The city recently announced that it must remove the tree because it is a safety hazard. (Ben Brasch/AJC)

One of his children, Peggy Miles, lived in the home until she died there about a decade ago. Thompson was close with her and before Miles passed, she said she wanted the property to remain a preserve.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2010 that the property had been appraised at $9 million, but Miles sold the overgrown property to the city for $900,000 under the condition that it remain a green park.

Now, the park holds community gardens, painting classes and hives where Mayor Rusty Paul keeps bees. But no longer will it have that big tree.

“We’re incredibly sad,” Thompson said.

She said the group intends to harvest the wood from the tree to make features, such as benches, around the park.


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