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Small Southeast Kansas Town Prepares to Say Goodbye to "Somethin - KOAM TV 7

Small Southeast Kansas Town Prepares to Say Goodbye to "Something More Than Just a Tree"

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Opolis, KS -

You can find history and pride in many Four State communities.  One of those communities is getting ready to say goodbye to something that has bound several generations.

A tree at Maggie Grebe Memorial Park in Opolis might seem ordinary.  But take a closer look at its grand size.  Locals say it has been around for at least the past 100 years.  Children have climbed it, mothers have calmed their newborn babies while swinging on its unique limbs, and many picnics and summer games have gotten shade from it. 

Saturday night, somehow the tree caught on fire.  Lightning is suspected.  The tree will be cut down June 2.

"You hate to see something that you've been so familiar with for so long, that something happened to it," says Opolis resident Norman Seal.  "It is sad to know that we're going to lose the tree."

"The evening of the fire, as we were all sitting out here, different ones, we would say, I want a bench of that tree, or I want a log in front of my house with my name on it out of that tree," says Opolis resident Debbie Mertz.

Locals say officials have told them this is the second largest ash tree in Kansas.

"Across the street over here, when I was a kid, we had a ball diamond.  Of course there was a fence around it, but sometimes we'd hit the ball over and we'd have to come over here (near the tree).  But that tree has always been there," says Seal.

"My youngest daughter will be 40 in August and I rocked that baby in that swing a lot of times!  I mean, what a nice place to come and just sit for the evening and just watch the kids play," says Mertz.

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