By Emily Bialkowski
The impressive storm of Sept. 4 that stretched into the early morning hours of Sept. 5 left a indelible mark on the corner of First and Main Street in Caledonia.
A giant oak tree believed to be well over 200 years old, if not 300, fell from the Mark and Deb Krause property onto four vehicles across the street at the John and Barb Haverty property.
“I got up and heard something brush the house,” John Haverty said.
“I came downstairs and my car alarm was going off. I was trying to push the button in the dark and I looked out and saw the tree,” Barb Haverty said.
The magnificent oak had been taken by the storm that recorded damaging winds 60 to 80 mph and hail as large as 2.5 inches in diameter in parts of southeast Minnesota.
“It’s sad, really sad,” Deb Krause said about the oak.
Sentiments rang strong in conversation between the neighbors about the mighty oaks that make their houses a sort of landmark in Caledonia. The lots are dotted with multiple trees all visibly aged.
“After every storm we come out and check our trees,” Mark Krause said.
When the Krause tree fell over it not only buried two vans and two cars but also crashed against one of the Haverty oaks. They fear it might also have to come down.
“We truly enjoyed the old tree, but it looks like it’ll come to an end,” John Haverty said. “We’ll lose a lot of shade.”
The Haverty home was built in 1872, and John has pictures from that era that include images of the oak tree already very large in size.
Despite the loss, the neighbors expressed relief that no one was injured and that the tree didn’t actually hit a house.
“It’s really so weird. It’s my birthday, so I was wishing for a day off and a new car. I’m never going to wish like that again,” John joked.
As concerned residents and friends periodically trickled in to take in the larger-than-life scene, they’d apologize for laughing.
“We’re laughing, too,” Barb said.
Contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]