The grand old oak tree on the property of The Dole has grown for at least 400 years. It was a large tree when Charles Dole bought the property in 1860, and it was still growing with the addition of the original Country Club of Crystal Lake annex in 1922. Our Oak kept on growing with the Franciscan Order of Lake Forest, the First Congregational Church, and has continued with our current non-profit organization, The Dole, Lakeside Legacy Foundation since 2002. Over the 400 years of this tree’s life, many families and community members have taken shade under the grand oak tree for different events, including Mary Florence’s wedding, many country club gatherings, Lakeside Festival, Music under the Trees, and countless family and community gatherings, yoga, Tai Chi and more.
The last few years of drought and severe weather, combined with old age, have taken its toll on the grand old tree. Last fall, an inspection of the tree with a local company, FJR Tree, justified our fears that the tree did not look healthy. The staff at FJR Tree are licensed and certified ISA arborists. The Dole’s Building and Grounds staff carefully followed instructions from FJR on how to care for the tree, including regular watering. Unfortunately, subsequent inspections this spring proved that we could not save our grand old oak, despite our best efforts. It lived for over 200 years on our beautiful property, surrounded by our wonderful Crystal Lake and Lakewood communities.
Our grand oak will have to come down before it becomes a hazard to people on our property. The Dole’s family, staff, board, resident artists, and the community will miss it very much. We will be saving each part of the tree and will find a creative way to share the wood from the tree with our community so that people can have a remembrance of the tree and support The Dole. On the advice and guidance from FJR, we are working hard to save the other growing oaks on our property.