Above / When all the leaves have fallen, the winding structure of the historic Hobson Oak tree is haunting as its limbs branch out wider than it is tall. From 1 to 2PM on Sun., Nov. 6, 2016, several members of the community are meeting under the tree to share stories about the Hobson Oak.

UPDATE, Jan. 24, 2018 / Rotarian and Naperville Park District Commission President Mike Reilly has arranged for Troy Cooper, President of the Naperville Parks Foundation, to present the program for the Rotary Club of Naperville / Downtown beginning at 4:44PM, Wed., Jan. 24, at Hugo’s Frog Pond. Cooper will inform the group about the mission of the foundation, including updates about the Hobson Oak project that began in November 2016.  Guests ($20 fee) are welcome. Hugo’s is located in Main Street Promenade, 55 S. Main Street, in downtown Naperville.

UPDATE, Nov. 17, 2016 / After a quick scroll of the story below, click here for the rest of the story that shows how many of the huge branches from the Hobson Oak were cut to be saved for creative endeavors and keepsakes.

UPDATE, Nov. 2, 2016 / A subsequent visit to the historic Hobson Oak on Wednesday morning coincided, quite by coincidence, with a meeting of members from the Naperville Park District Foundation, taking photos for more storytelling to be featured in the Daily Herald.

Upon further examination of the legacy tree with the massive trunk, more than 20 feet in circumference, we observed a large vertical split up the middle.

Up higher, the hole in the trunk where the branches begin to part brings back memories, we’re told, for some old timers who recall being able to crawl through the opening when they were youngsters. Over time, as the tree has grown, the hole has become smaller, now a good size for squirrels.

PHOTO Gallery / Click any photo to enlarge.

Jim Healy, Mary Lou Wehrli and Troy Cooper stood by the large outstretched limb to help demonstrate how low it’s grown, hanging a little lower by the day, deeming it unsafe for walkers and bikers who use the sidewalk. 

When the tree comes down, care will be given to save limbs for perpetuity, possibly to be used for lumber, woodworking, furniture, art and other creative projects.

UPDATE, Halloween, Oct. 31, 2016 /  North side, south side, all around the historic Hobson Oak tree is picturesque on a cool Halloween, the last day in October. Note the large lobes and rounded tips of the bur oak leaves that distinguish them from roughly 600 species in existence today.

PHOTO Gallery / Click any photo to enlarge.

Original Post, Oct. 28, 2016 / The historic Hobson Oak tree located near the intersection of Hobson and Greene Roads is coming down in November. Arborists have determined the bur oak has reached the end of its life and the resulting decay makes it time to remove the tree for safety reasons.

The Hobson Oak sprouted in the river valley of the East Branch of the DuPage River before the American Revolution. It has been a landmark to Native Americans, farmers, commuters and residents.

The Barnard family owned and farmed the land followed by the Miller family. Today it is Seven Bridges subdivision and golf course.

Local artist Marianne Lisson-Kuhn has drawn the Hobson Oak. “I’ve enjoyed seeing it all these years. The iconic characteristics are so striking. It brought a lot of joy,” she said.

The Naperville Parks Foundation and DuPage County will honor the tree’s legacy and preserve its wood for future use to benefit local nonprofit organizations.

“The Hobson Oak has touched the hearts of many people,” said Jim Healy, President of the Naperville Parks Foundation and Public Works Chairman of the DuPage County Board. “We hope the wood from the Hobson Oak will allow woodcrafters and artists the opportunity to create many wonderful objects for future generations.”

Wood will be saved, dried for furniture

John Greene Realtor and Wehrli Furniture Company are working with the foundation to secure storage and kiln drying of the wood in addition to crafting unique furniture.

“The Hobson Oak presents a story of strength, perseverance and beauty. We are offering not-for-profit agencies the opportunity to auction at their fundraisers a piece of furniture or artwork crafted from the wood of the Hobson Oak,” said Troy Cooper, a member of the Naperville Parks Foundation Board of Directors.

Before the tree is removed in mid-November, photographers are encouraged to capture the last images of the Hobson Oak on the landscape.  Photos will be made available on the foundation’s website.

Acorns have also been gathered in hopes of germinating saplings for sale.

“We are proud to be a part of the preservation of this champion tree and its ties to our history,” said Tim Greene, President and CEO of John Greene Realtor who grew up along Hobson Road.

Storytelling by the Bur Oak, 1-2PM Sun., Nov. 6

From 1 to 2PM on Sun., Nov. 6, 2016, several members of the community are meeting under the tree to tell stories about the Hobson Oak and say good-bye.

“We encourage everyone to take the time to drive by and see the Hobson Oak one last time, and also to share their stories,” said spokeswoman Mary Lou Wehrli.

The Naperville Parks Foundation was established in 2011 to provide community support and awareness of the need for open spaces and to support facilities and programs of the Naperville Park District.  In addition, the Foundation provides funds for families in our community who cannot afford to sign up for park district programs.

For information, contact Troy Cooper at (630) 362-3996 or visit www.NapervilleParksFoundation.org.

Story submitted by Mary Lou Wehrli for the Naperville Parks Foundation.