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Midtown magnolia planted in 1917 has been chopped down—but will be memorialized

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The tree will live on through future plantings and art, historic preservationists say

A large magnolia tree by a castle-like building, with street signs and traffic lights in the foreground.
The 102-year-old magnolia tree no longer reigns on the corner of Peachtree Street and Rhodes Center.
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

After more than 100 years, Rhodes Hall has said goodbye to the expansive magnolia tree that held court on the “Castle on Peachtree’s” front lawn for so long.

Believed to have been planted in 1917, the tree sustained damage and decay in the last several decades, leaving behind a hollow core camouflaged by a full canopy of leaves.

In addition, the trunk was cracked in several places.

Previous efforts had been made to stabilize the tree. According to Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation President Mark C. McDonald, a safety cable had been installed in the tree years ago, but that cable recently snapped.

Officials with the Georgia Trust, which keeps its headquarters in Rhodes Hall, sought out the knowledge and experience of an arborist and a landscape architect before making the decision to remove the tree.

Both agreed the 102-year-old stalwart was in danger of falling.

A man looks on as a tree trunk is removed from in front of a castle-like house.
The final stages in removing the old magnolia.
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

However, the magnolia tree won’t be forgotten.

Officials with the Trust say they plan to take cuttings from the tree in an effort to root new saplings.

In addition, the nonprofit organization is planning to enlist the services of a wood carver to create art pieces from the tree’s trunk.

Another silver lining is that one of Peachtree’s truly grand old mansions is more visible now to the thousands who pass each day.