PINEVILLE, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — A unique tree in Pineville, Missouri that’s seeded in America’s history, is vandalized, and now city officials are asking for help from the public to find the person or persons responsible.
The vandalism took place at the Pineville bike park along Big Sugar Creek Road.
Back in 2017, the Arbor Day Foundation contacted the city of Pineville and asked if they would be interested in planting a very special tree in their city.
Because of the history tied to the tree, city officials couldn’t say ‘no.’
The tree given to the city of Pineville is a “Tulip Poplar.”
The poplar, which started out as a seedling, was grafted from the last standing “Revolutionary Era Liberty Tree.”
That tree was a 400-year-old Tulip Poplar from Annapolis, Maryland, which was destroyed by hurricane-force winds in 1999.
“The Liberty Tree was called that, because back during the Revolutionary War, they actually gathered up folks and said, ‘hey, go to this tree.’ That would be where people gathered up to fight during the Revolutionary War, so they nicknamed them Revolutionary Trees. These trees were good meeting spots because they were just huge, huge shade trees, and were easy to spot from a distance,” said Pineville Mayor Gregg Sweeten.
Several seedlings were grafted from that last standing “Revolutionary Era Liberty Tree,” and distributed to cities across the country.
One of those cities to receive the special seedling was Pineville.
Sweeten said that after it was planted in 2017 by the Missouri 4-H, the tree grew to a current height of 10 feet, that is until it was deliberately broken down near the tree’s base sometime Thursday.
“We’re heartbroken. I mean, we’re just literally heartbroken. If anybody knows anything, we’re asking you to please contact our 911 center, and they’ll get the information to our Marshal’s Office. Somebody needs to be held responsible for this senseless act,” said Sweeten.
Early Thursday, Sweeten contacted a local arbor nursery to see if any of the tree’s seedlings can be salvaged and replanted.
“We contacted a gentleman who lives here in Pineville. His family has a nursery, and he actually took and clipped some of the tree’s leaves, and they’re going to try to wrap those on to some other tulip poplar trees. We’re hoping that will take hold and take growth. So we’re working with several folks who are trying to do everything they can to save this priceless piece of living history,” said Sweeten.
Sweeten said he’s also focused on catching and punishing the person or persons responsible for the vandalism.
“We definitely would like to have some help from the public to be able to punish whoever is responsible. We’re going to have to work with our prosecutor to try and figure out what the appropriate punishment would be for breaking what I believe is a historical item,” stated Sweeten.
If you have any information on the vandalism of the historic Tulip Poplar tree, you can contact the Pineville Police Department at 417-223-4369.