End of an Era
Sadly, the beloved sugar maple on Belmont Plateau is dying. Soon it will be taken down as a matter of public safety. So many Philadelphians know and love this tree.
It has been a favorite spot for Spring picnics, a rallying point for generations of teens in the Summertime, the site of city-wide cross country meets in the Fall, and as for Winter, it sits atop one of the best sledding hills in Fairmount Park. Countless couples have shot their wedding photos beneath the Belmont maple’s spreading branches.
On April 29th, 2022, Arbor Day, the city will plant three young gum trees to take its place.
Wing’s love of Maple
Wing has always had a profound love for maple trees and for carving all types of maple wood. As a child growing up in Ohio he climbed and played in the shade of maples. They have the most spectacular display of vivid Fall colors and their leaves make the softest piles to jump into.
Maples are some of the very hardest woods native to North America and therefore ideal for furniture making, bowling alleys, cutting boards, and guitar necks. Maple is one of the most beautiful woods and can be found with extraordinary figuring. Terms such as curly, quilted, fiddleback, bird’s eye, ambrosia, and spalted describe some of the many types of maple.
Making the News
Several news outlets, The inquirer, 6ABC and NBC10, were all on hand to report on and commemorate the tree as Wing said his goodbyes.
The Next Chapter
When the tree crew removes the Belmont Maple they will set aside some pieces of wood for local woodworkers including Wing. Long after the tree is gone its spirit will live on in new forms, as sculpture, furniture, perhaps even as part of a tall ship. For Wing, the fact that he will be one of those to write a new chapter for the beloved maple makes the moment bittersweet.
A gallery of maple carvings by Wing:
See more images of the #BelmontMaple and add your own on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/belmontmaple/