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Greenery is Christmas gift to city

November 25, 2002|BY JANET HEIM

janet@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Just as Rockefeller Center in New York City has its famed Christmas tree, so too does the Public Square in Hagerstown.

This year, the Public Square tree came from the Halfway area, a gift of Katrina and Greg Eversole. They've enjoyed the tree in their front yard for 18 years, but it was growing into the driveway and needed to be removed. Katrina Eversole estimates that it was 35 feet tall when cut down.

"We loved that tree. Every year my husband had to trim the tree and every year he put more and more lights on it. It brought a lot of joy to our neighborhood," she said.

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It's been a year of change for the Eversole family, with their two daughters getting married within a month of each other. And now there's a big empty spot in their front yard where their beloved evergreen used to stand.

"It's an end of an era," Katrina Eversole said. "We're glad the tree is going out in style."

For Katrina Eversole, who works at the Washington County Commission on Aging near the square, it's a nice coincidence that their tree was chosen for the downtown location.

"It's neat that our tree is right outside of my office. I get to see it every day," she said.

In addition to the tree in the square, a trimmed tree also graces Hagerstown's City Park Lake, this year donated by Josephine and Willie Gandy. Willie Gandy, coincidentally, is a part-time driver for the Commission on Aging.

The chosen tree is secured to a metal raft supported by 55-gallon drums to keep it afloat, then chained in place.

The Gandys, of Carroll Heights Boulevard, had planted an evergreen tree 24 years ago when they built their home. The tree finally outgrew the house, so they called the city to come look at it.

"I can't wait to see our tree trimmed for the holidays. It's been four years since we trimmed it last," Josephine Gandy said.

She added that her grandchildren, twins Michael and Martez Townes, 9, always looked out for the rabbit that made its home under the tree. They were upset when they discovered the tree was gone, wondering where the rabbit had gone.

These two trees have waited a year for their time in the spotlight. Last year's Christmas trees had already been selected when Junior Mason, park supervisor with the City of Hagerstown's Public Works Department, saw them last year.

Both the Eversoles and Gandys agreed to keep the trees until the city were ready for them this year. Mason estimates that he looks at 10 to 15 trees in the annual hunt for the perfect trees.

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