Santa Monica Mirror was alerted by a reader to a story posted on Nextdoor.com about the tearing down of a beautiful tree today in Santa Monica.
“After the 1994 earthquake, an elderly man wandered into the backyard. I asked him if I could help him. He told me that he built these bungalows in 1946, and he was curious about how it made it through the earthquake. He said, “I bet this place was rocking. I told him that it was swaying so badly that there was no way that i could even get out of bed to hide under something.
He said, “we built it that way with lathe and wood. It was meant to sway but not break. He was very pleased that his building survived with nothing but a few cracks.
Then he asked me, “how do you like the avocado tree? I saved it for you.” He told me that the area between Centinela and Cloverfield were all avocado groves and citrus fruits. But after the war, the area was zoned for housing for returning soldiers. But, he said, the avocado tree in my backyard was so beautiful that he fought to save it. And he did–until now.
You can see other avocado trees around Santa Monica but none of them fruit. I have lived here for over 34 years. Then, it was an enclave for people who went to Berkeley in the Sixties. If someone couldn’t meet their rent, we all chipped in. We lovingly took care of the tree. We paid for tree trimmers ourselves so we could keep it healthy.
It’s a sad day for me. It’s a sad day for Santa Monicans who care about preserving what once was a Paradise by the sea; an affordable Paradise for people who cared about community and respecting the beauty of nature.”
According to our reader, the owner of the property is Yale Street LLC, a shell corporation of NMS, which owns over 2,500 apts on the Westside and Santa Monica that was written up as “Who’s behind the Explosion of market rate housing on the Westside”.
“We have looked into preserving the tree, but there is nothing we can do,” residents said.