The centuries-old red oak tree at the corner of Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue is now officially a historic site, the first tree to receive such a designation in Teaneck.
Residents have long fought to preserve the massive oak, and the town council last week formally marked the tree as the Teaneck's 16th historic site.
The tree is said to be 250 to 300 years old and located on the site of the former Samuel Campbell farmhouse, built sometime before 1837. The property once stretched from the Hudson River to Hackensack River.
"The tree was standing before the birth of our nation and before George Washington's retreat over the Hackensack River at Historic New Bridge Landing and, as such, is a remnant of a rural landscape that contributes to the historic character of the Township of Teaneck," states the council ordinance.
A sign at the base of the tree calls it a "living witness to the history of Teaneck from Revolutionary days to present."
Eugene Coleman, chair of the town's historic preservation commission, said the group sought historic status for the tree after fielding questions from residents, according to a NorthJersey.com report.
Former property owner, the Union for Traditional Judaism, sought to cut down the tree but backed off after an outcry from locals in 2010.
The Puffin Foundation donated money allowing the tree to be granted a conservation easement in an agreement with current property owner Congregation Netivot Shalom.
Efforts to protect the red oak trace back to the 1970s, when Sen. Loretta Weinberg's late husband campaigned to stop a developer from chopping down the tree.
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