According to the Seasons, for almost a century the grove of towering trees that line Steilacoom Boulevard near Western State Hospital has grown, bloomed and shed leaves.
A drive along the tree-lined stretch of road between Steilacoom and Lakewood is a pleasant change of scenery from seemingly endless stretches of contemporary businesses.
In recent years, though, windstorms and harsh winter weather have taken their toll on these picturesque, silent sentinels.
The wife of former Washington State Hospital Superintendent Dr. Joseph Waughop originally planted the trees in the 1930s, said Chris Campbell, WSH Facilities Manager, in a June 20 phone interview.
Based on an arborist’s recommendation the trees were removed and replanted with younger trees, as part of a LID for the City of Lakewood. Approximately 96 trees along the boulevard and 87th street were planted in the past two weeks, Campbell continued.
The project included installation of curbs, gutters, sidewalks and lighting along 87th to the golf course, and curbs, gutters and sidewalks on Sentinel Drive, near the High School (a portion of the road is within the City’s boundaries), according to Eric Swanstrom of the City’s Engineering Department. Project pricetag? $1.17 million.
Swanstrom added that about 30 trees were removed last spring. Others were removed recently to make way for new lighting along the boulevard.
The replacement trees, already approximately 5-6 years old, are said to have a life expectancy of between 60-70 years.
The deciduous trees (a variety that loses its leaves each autumn) planted along the Boulevard are known as “Bonfire” or “acersaccharum”. Those planted along 87th Street are known as “Queen Elizabeth,” or “acercampestre,” Campbell added.
The varieties are comparable to Maple trees, she said. When they reach their maturity the new trees may grow as tall as 40 ft.
by Nancy Covert, contributor