BRIDGTON — The owner of the historic Plummer’s Landing tree that was taken down last month said this week that the tree was unsafe and diseased.

Marilyn Melton of Scarborough, owner of the house at 112 Plummer’s Landing, said the original plans to construct a garage on the property next to the massive pine tree did not include its removal but damage to the root system by contractors excavating the footing of the garage forced a closer look at the tree.

“The contractor called us and we sent a tree company down to look at it because the contractor said the tree would have to be limbed,” said Melton in an e-mail to the Sun Journal on Tuesday. “The tree company called the CEO (Code Enforcement Officer Robert Baker) of Bridgton, and it was he who determined that the tree was unsafe and needed to come down. Once it was taken down, it was discovered that the tree was very diseased and would probably have fallen down, which could have done considerable damage.”

Baker was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment but a neighbor on Plummer’s Landing, who declined to identify himself, also confirmed at the time that the tree had been diseased for many years.

The tree, that used to be the landing spot for steamboats carrying wealthy 19th century tourists to Bridgton, received notice when Alan S. Manoian, community and economic development director in Bridgton, discovered the tree’s plight during an excursion around town.

Manoian said at the time that nothing could prevent the tree’s removal, but because of its importance to the community and beyond, he suggested people 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 centuries.

According to the “History of Bridgton,” sometime around 1835 Eli and Patience Plummer and their three sons started a freighting business over Long and Sebago lakes and the (Cumberland & Oxford) canal that connected the inland lakes with the ocean. The Plummers built a home and large wharves for the loading and unloading of merchandise. That house is no longer there, but Manoian said that scars from where the boats ropes were tied to the tree could still be seen.

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