Portion of tree falls, demolishes gazebo at Wedding Moments Wedding Chapel

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com
  
A portion of a large Shagbark Maple tree on the property of Magic Moments Wedding Chapel, Main Street, fell Friday morning and demolished the gazebo.
   "I would assume that the rain has had a lot to do with it because it was so wet, and the weight of it is what has brought it down," said Magic Moments Wedding Chapel owner Jan Peters, who said the tree is rotten and hollow on the inside.
   "We always worried about it and were concerned about it. We made many a trip over here late at night when the wind would be blowing hard and we'd get a hard windstorm. We've always been concerned about it.
   "We really hate to lose it. It's sad. It breaks my heart to see it, but it's a blessing in itself that it happened when it did. I thank God that nobody was hurt. Our property was damaged, and we can live with that. We'll overcome that."
   Peters wasn't sure Friday whether another tree would be planted to replace of the one that fell. "I don't know," she said. "I have no idea. I'm still in shock. I am heartbroken, because we treasured it. "
   The loss of the tree is like losing a friend, according to Peters. "That tree is definitely a friend," she commented. "It's been a nightmare, but it's still a friend.
   "People from around the world have admired that tree. There's pictures of that (tree) all over the world. It's a great loss."
   Peters, who has owned the wedding chapel for 15 years, was working Friday to get someone to cut down the part of the tree that was still standing. "It's a dangerous situation, and we'll handle it as quickly as possible," she stated.
   "I don't know exactly how old the tree is," Peters said. "It's several hundred years old. It's a rare Maple, as far as the age of it. It's a landmark.
   "We had the tree trimmed about three years ago, thinking that we would save it because it was so big, the way it branches out and the age of it. We thought we had saved it by having it trimmed.
   "The gazebo was part of the wedding chapel," remarked Peters, who said the gazebo was used for pictures and weddings.
   Peters hopes to have the gazebo rebuilt. "It's a big part of our business," she said. "It's very attractive. I definitely hope to replace the gazebo."
   Local police who responded to the scene were "very courteous," according to Peters. "The police have been very helpful here," she said. "As you see, they just placed barriers there, which we requested, but they were quick to do it."