It’s often those little things


I missed that word. With the length of the cold wave that struck the Carolinas recently, I almost forgot the meaning of that word. But everything changed today. Today, after days and days, it was finally warm enough to walk outside without turning into frozen carbon-based treat.

So, like the giddy four year old that I am prone to be: I dragged my friends along on a walk around the campus of North Carolina State University.

I love this campus, it’s full of hidden secrets and treasures and today, I stumbled upon another secret:


What Happened to the Tree?

After more than 100 years, this Willow Oak (Quercus phellos) succumbed to the ravages of time. Rotten at its core, it could not be saved.

The remaining trees indicate that this was one tree in a row of trees, lining what was a street through what is now the courtyard. That road was build between 1907 and 1913 and the trees were most likely planted at that time. As the tree grew, so did the campus around it.

Syme dorm was build next to the former YMCA Building in 1916. Gold Hall and Welch Hall were built in 1920. Brooks Hall (then D.H. Hill library) replaced three of the original dormitories in 1926. The YMCA Building was demolished in the 70s, the street was removed, and Kamphoefner [kam – PEF – ner] Hall was built on the site in 1978.

Over the next year, the tree will be replaced with what is promised to be a substantial specimen.

Looking back about the discovery. One sign in an often-overlooked part of campus shed so much light on the history of that area. In just 163 words, we learned about all of the history that the tree witnessed: from the planting of the tree, around the time of the RMS Titanic to the construction and demolition it witnessed and the future of its old home.

That’s history. Beyond a showy gilded plaque, this small wooden sign–probably cut from the wood of that very same tree–awaits: eager to teach passers-by its secrets and knowledge. Something that’s right up the alley of the folks of one of my favorite blogs, Goodnight Raleigh

In your hometowns, there are bound to be secrets as well. Those small, almost invisible monuments to things that seem to be unimportant but with further thought are monuments to tremendous changes. Those secrets are there, waiting to be discovered.

Go forth and find them!


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