The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 3, 2002


Garden Club to restore elm trees to Town Common

Two energetic members of the Carlisle Garden Club have developed a plan to restore elm trees to the town common. Eunice Knight and Alison Saylor presented the restoration proposal at the historical commission's regular meeting on April 23. The garden club has approved and funded the project as well as the cost of installation, which will occur later this spring.

This Gleason Library archive photo shows Concord Street being paved. To the left is the Town Common with American Elm trees standing tall. The dump truck is heading down Westford Street.

Aerial view of Carlisle center in 1983 showing the Town Common without elm trees. (File photo by Tim Morse)

Knight showed pictures of some of the 15 elms left on the common in 1925, which were subsequently lost to the disease that killed so many New England elms. Four Princeton Elms, a variety developed to replace the disease prone American Elm, will be planted 40 feet apart along the Concord Street side of the common and will be set back 20 feet from the wall on that side of the common. Orange markers have been placed to show where they will stand. Knight said that the common land is the property of the First Religious Society, whose buildings and grounds committee had no objections to planting the trees. During the discussion, Saylor told the committee, "I would love to have your support" and obtained a promise of their written approval of the project, even as they stated that they had no jurisdiction over the town common. There was no opposition to the proposal, although some commission members asked if the trees would affect the present vista of the First Religious Society. They were told that the trees will be 70 to 80 feet tall at maturity and will form a canopy in front of the church, through which the church could be seen. In addition to the four Princeton Elms, the garden club is planting a zelkovia tree, which is also a high branching tree, on Church Street.

Historic district long-range plans

Larry Sorli, a restoration architect and Carlisle resident, spoke to the group about the historical commission's past history. Its rules and regulations were drawn up in June of 1969 and the last change was made in 1981. The rules were deliberately drawn up vaguely so each community could make its own call. Saying "we are custodians of the district," he spoke of changes which have been made in the absence of clear and strong regulations, which had allowed a Victorian porch to be torn out and replaced with a steel porch. He spoke of need for preservation restrictions which would prevent such tear downs.

He suggested that rules and regulations speak to the style of the period, rather than be strictly Colonial or Victorian. Louise Hara, a commission member, talked of regulations that would make the center of the town more cohesive. It has also approved funds for planting bulbs on the common and Knight said the Boy Scouts' help was being solicited for that work.

Other business

In their role as custodians of the historic district, the commission had three items of business. They approved John Lee's application for a new roof for his house, Barbara Culkins' and Bob Daisy's application for a new roof (to match the roof on the main building) for the garage at Daisy's, and The Wright Family Trust request for permission to build a walkway to avoid street runoff. The latter two were approved with conditions relative to inspection of the materials used.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito