On Saturday May 27, 2017 at twelve o’clock noon, a special dedication will be made for the Tree Monument –perhaps the most “Unusual Tree” in the state of New Jersey. Located in Saw Mill Park in Richland Village a mighty white oak tree stood for 235 years (approx. 1780-2015) next to a Saw Mill that led the way for the once mighty railroads to crisscross here in Richland, Buena Vista Township. When time took the life of this tree, it still had 125 ft. wing span.
Our community searched for ideas to allow this otherwise dead tree to live on. The idea of a Tree Monument was born with the guidance of Mayor Chuck Chiarello and the Township Committee in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Buena Vista Township. It would be a tree that depicted the Township’s history and yet transformed into a contemporary piece of art. With the help of local tree surgeon Gary Heitz and a talented chainsaw artist by the name of Brian Ackley the Tree Monument was born. After almost a year of planning, the tree will be unveiled at the 3rd Annual Richland Village Festival which also serves as an official Sesquicentennial Event for the Township’s 150th Birthday.
A 600 year-old giant white oak tree recently died in a church cemetery in Basking Ridge, NJ. That tree was cut down except for the stump where a memorial stone will be placed and some of the wood will be used to build furniture to furnish the church it sat next to and the Township Hall in Basking Ridge.
The concept of our Tree Monument was to allow the tree to remain standing and be a lasting memorial for its days of glory.
Over $20,000 was raised from the community to complete the project which included the trimming, carving, paving, fencing, , and planting of seven young white oak trees.
We humbly ask for your presence at the dedication to celebrate the life of this new Tree Monument which depicts almost 40 different carvings that show the past and modern history of what we call home, Buena Vista Township.
Saw Mill Park is just over an acre in size and features a children’s play train, a real Pennsylvania Railroad Steel Caboose from the 1930’s, a gazebo, a Veteran’s and a 9-11 Memorial along with benches. The tree is lit at night and has already attracted hundreds of visitors during the construction phase. Visitors may also stop in to the Patcong Valley Model Railroad Building Lobby and see an original painting of the Saw Mill that once stood on this site and a white oak tree that stood nearby. The painting was done by a family member of the early settlers in Richland Village in the late 1800’s.
Come help us celebrate at 12 Noon Saturday, May 27, 2017. Small samples of the original tree will be given to those in attendance and a special commemorative puzzle will be given to the first 150 people who show up for the dedication (Limit one per family). A special puzzle designed by the Missing Piece Puzzle Company and Photographer Dave Griffin both who are based in Richland Village, will be given away. It resembles a post card, see below.
The ceremony is part of a larger day of family activities including a 100 Vendor Toy Show, Huge Car Show, Classic Car Parade, Train Rides on the Cape May Sea Shore Lines, Live Music featuring three bands, fun things for the children, over 16 food vendors and over 40 other vendors/crafters and much more!