Thursday, October 30, 2014 · 2:10 p.m.
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Hamilton County officials and representatives for the Orange Grove Center gathered on the courthouse lawn Thursday morning to plant a new Osage orange to replace the elderly tree that toppled to the ground two months ago.

Mayor Jim Coppinger offered brief remarks, expressing his hope that the space surrounding the tree would become a meaningful place for county residents. The old Osage, with its twisted and knotted trunk, had been the site of countless weddings and events for residents over the past hundred years, with its planting dating back to the 1800s. 

The new tree was donated by Orange Grove Center, which serves more than 700 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Orange Grove draws its name and logo from an old grove of Osage trees once located along Main Street, where the center's original facility was housed before it was moved in 1970.

Following the planting, Coppinger said that plans had been made for a county employee to create at least one and possibly two benches from the old Osage's wood, which will eventually be placed near the new Osage. Coppinger also said that plans had also been made for a podium to be crafted out of the old wood and that portions of the tree could possibly be made available to the public in the coming months.

Updated @ 11:26 a.m. on 11/30/12 to correct a factual error: A county employee will make benches from the old tree's wood, not a city employee as originally reported.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger offers remarks as commissioners and representatives for the Orange Grove Center stand behind. (Photo: Staff)
County Commissioners (from left to right) Joe Graham, Jim Fields, Chester Bankston, Fred Skillern and Greg Beck. (Photo: Staff)
The Osage orange tree was donated by the Orange Grove Center, which serves more than 700 children and adults with developmental disabilities. (Photo: Staff)
A small crowd gathered on the courthouse lawn to witness the planting of the tree. (Photo: Staff)
Commissioners Marty Haynes, Larry Henry and Joe Graham look on as Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger offers remarks. (Photo: Staff)
The group throws soil around the tree. (Photo: Staff)
The tree will grow in the decades to come. (Photo: Staff)
A county maintenance worker finishes the planting of the Osage orange. (Photo: Staff)
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