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Cherry Of The Rio Grande
updated: Jul 15, 2009, 6:43 PM

by Arthur Gibbs Sylvester, President, Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society


At 9 am this Wednesday morning a crew and huge crane successfully moved 65,000 pounds of tree and box from the back of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society's property at 316 Castillo Street to the front where the public may also enjoy it.

The tree, "Cherry of the Rio Grande" (Eugenia aggregata), a native of Brazil, was planted as a seed more than 50 years ago by Dr. Melville and Geraldine Sahyun, when the property was the site of Dr. Sahyun's pharmaceutical research lab.

The Society has determined that the tree is the only one of its kind in Santa Barbara County and maybe even in southern California. It is the first Cherry of the Rio Grande that Valley Crest Tree Company has ever moved.

Preparations for the move began in January with the construction of a 12' box around the roots and base of the tree. Throughout Spring, the tree put out new growth, new blossoms, and new fruit. Clearly the tree was healthy and eagerly anticipating its move to a more prominent and visible site on the one and a half acre property.

The tree was moved to make room for the expansion of the Society's Sahyun Library, which will break ground in the Fall.

The huge crane was almost too large for the Sahyun Library driveway, but under the watchful eyes of Society sidewalk supervisors Cheryl and Gary Jensen, Jan Cloud, John Shute, Cari Thomas, and Art Sylvester, the crane lifted the tree and its box of the hole, easily hoisted it over the garden, and gently settled it into its new "digs".

The crew and onlookers agree that the tree looks just perfect in its new site and, once its surroundings are landscaped, the tree will be the centerpiece of a delightful corner of the Sahyun Library property.


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