BRIDGTON — A tree at what used to be the landing spot for steamboats carrying wealthy 19th century city tourists up Long Lake to Bridgton is about to be taken down.

“I came upon it by accident,” said Alan S. Manoian, community and economic development director in Bridgton, referring to the construction equipment around the historic tree at Plummer’s Landing.

The tree is being taken down to make way for construction of a residence and garage at the end of the dead-end street at 112 Plummer’s Landing. Although the contractor, Seymour Construction of Bridgton, did not return calls from the Sun Journal, one local property owner, who declined to give his name, said the tree has been diseased for many years.

“Its sheer scale, size and the very dramatic ancient craggy bark, you look at it and immediately it hits you. It’s not old, it’s ancient,” Manoian said.

He said there is nothing that can be done to prevent the tree removal, but because of the importance to the community and beyond, people should bring their children to the site to take a last look at the tree that served as a “point of arrival” for tourists to the Maine lakes and mountain region in the 19th and early 20th century.

“You can still see deep ancient scars from the (boat) ropes,” Manoian said of the tree. “If it’s going to be lost in our generation’s time, it’s a good thing to just go by it. When you take your children, they’ll be the last generation to see it.”

According to the 1968 History of Bridgton, around 1835 Eli and Patience Plummer and their three sons started a freighting business over Long Lake and Sebago Lake and the (Cumberland & Oxford) Canal which connected the inland lakes with the ocean. The Plummers built a home and large wharves for the loading and unloading of merchandise.

Although the home and wharves are gone, the current owner of the property, Marilyn Melton of Scarborough, is now constructing a residence at the site. Melton did not return a phone call from the Sun Journal.

Manoian said the importance of the tree and other cultural and historical resources in Bridgton can not be overplayed.

“We have these one-of-a-kind heritage and economic assets that can be very valuable,” Manoian said of luring tourists and new residents and businesses to the area. “When we lose cultural assets, we have less advantages.”

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