LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Hundreds of trees are on the ground after Friday’s storm, but one in Lexington is getting a lot of attention.

The Old Schoolhouse Oak tree on Harrodsburg Road sadly did not survive the hurricane-like winds that ripped through the Bluegrass on Friday.

The tree is estimated to be 300 to 500 years old.

Amelia Wisner, a long-time Lexington resident said it was more than just a tree.

“I would always look up on the hill and think how wonderful it was that we were preserving this tree so I just feel like I’ve lost an old friend,” said Wisner.

She’s just one of many Kentuckians mourning the loss of the beloved bur oak.

Tom Kimmerer, a forest scientist was asked by Ball Homes if he could preserve the tree as they built Tracery Apartments around it.

“We’ve done a lot of work to make sure this tree remains healthy. I do regular inspections; I take cores to see how decayed it is. There’s a lot of decay in this tree but there still was about six inches of sound wood all the way around so it wasn’t going to come down without a great deal of stress,” said Kimmerer.

The bur oak whose roots are deep down into the rock of the earth, pre-dates not just Kentucky, but the country as well. Throughout the years, it’s weathered many storms, from thunderstorms, ice storms, and even a tornado, but Friday’s historic winds proved to be too much for the old tree.

When Kimmerer went to check on it Saturday morning, he hoped for the best but knew deep down what he’d find.

“I was in tears…this tree has been my project since 2014. I come out here all the time to check on it. I’ve climbed it six times to inspect it. But yeah, it’s always been my worry that a windstorm would take it out, but nobody expected a windstorm like this,” said Kimmerer.


Residents at the nearby Tracery Apartments are mourning the loss as well. Many of them said the bur oak is a big reason they chose to live there and hope the apartments don’t expand on the hill the tree once stood tall on.

Christina Prows-Lepera, a resident at Tracery Apartments said, “Really heartbroken, this tree means a lot to me…it’s been here with me through a lot. When I’m sad, anything’s not going right, I come out to the tree, and It seems like it has been there in more ways than mankind has been.”

On Monday, a decision will be made on what to do with all the wood from the tree. For now, folks are able to come and see the tree on the hill for the last time and take a piece of history home with them.