Grandma Gordon is Cut Down

Many will recall the nearly 3-year battle between Lake Claire residents and a property owner along DeKalb Avenue to save a giant pecan tree named Grandma Gordon.  Residents threw up numerous legal road blocks over the years to stop the property owner from cutting down trees and developing the property.

Today, an eye-witness reports in…

There’s currently a tree crew, a handful of protesters and some cops at the site and the tree is 90% gone…Guess the legal battle wrapped up…

One more pic after the jump.

55 thoughts on “Grandma Gordon is Cut Down”


  1. It may be a shame but if the developer is building, that is a good sign. We sure need housing to come back.

    1. What we need is for someone to buy all those empty condos in the developments two blocks west on DeKalb before someone starts building another set of them…

  2. I am so sad. Wasn’t an effort to buy the land and turn it into a park in the works? Certainly the current housing market does not justify the development of the lot right now, so the property owner probably cut the tree down just for spite. Heartless.

    1. You really want a park on Dekalb Ave…where junkies can go hang out? Because that’s what would happen.

      PRIVATE PROPERTY. Why don’t all you that want a park so bad, donate your property? Not try to take someone else’s.

  3. Trees don’t have feelings. Find a better cause people! Gaza, clean water, Darfur, Malaria, Mexican drug violence, AIDS, Tea Party illiteracy rates….

    1. All the causes you mention are very important but so is what happens in your local community. Grandma Gordon’s story reflects our relationship with the environment and its many inherent conflicts. I believe embodied in these conflicts are many important issues worth our time and energy. Not only might it impact us personally, but it might be symbolic of our approach to the Earth and its people in general.

      1. “reflects our relationship with the environment”

        “embodied in these conflicts”

        “symbolic to our approach to the Earth”

        Why invest so much emotion, energy and capital to fighting for something that is merely symbolic and reflective?

        1. Exactly, for those fighting to protect Grandma Gordon, it was not reflective but very real! So they are addressing a local issue in a public and legal way that has larger consequences, particularly for them and others. Clearly it is not your priority but is their priority and I respect that they wanted to address it.

      2. “Why invest so much emotion, energy and capital to fighting for something that is merely symbolic and reflective?”

        Agreed. If your aim is to preserve the fauna within the Lake Claire neighborhood there is ample contiguous green space existing that could be preserved or utilized as parkland.

    1. Looking for a local cause, hop in your car, drive five minutes down Columbia Drive to the UM Children’s Home. Those kids have feelings and needs. “Gradma Gordon” never experienced a single emotion.

  4. My understanding is this is about some people that are using private property for a greenspace, and don’t want condos developed there. I agree with Nick. Move on, folks.

  5. Obviously, some people here don’t understand the impact of tearing down old tress in urban areas. Until you do, you perhaps you shouldn’t judge & dismiss the causes other people find important with such scorn.

  6. Think of all the trees they could’ve planted elsewhere in the neighborhood with the money they used throwing up legal hurdles on a commercial zoned peice of property, on a busy thoroughfare, which is really not suited for a park.
    I’m a tree hugger, but this battle always seemed a little silly to me. Now, if Duran Mill could have been saved, THAT would’ve made an excellent urban park.

  7. What a waste. I can’t believe no one thought to relocate the tree to Westchester, where Dollar General has decided to build rather than in Oakhurst.

    Of course, then CSD would have to come up with a ninth redistricting option and the city would then need to relocate the planned routes for the light-rail train and streetcar. And didn’t Hootie the barred owl have a nest in that tree?

    Now I have nowhere to put my Liz Carter sign. And the best restalurant in Atlanta, Leon’s, can’t build a second location without that tree.

    And to top it all off, Nelliebelle is pregnant, resulting in yet ANOTHER democrat living in Decatur. 🙂

    I have no idea what got into me this morning. Must be all the pre-Halloween candy I’ve ingested.

    1. Re Dollar General at Westchester: It would go nicely with the vehicles parked up over the curb all over the lawn. 🙂

  8. This is knee-jerk, mindless environmentalism at its worst.

    I love trees and wilderness. I believe fuel taxes that pay for suburban highways should be abolished so sprawling, suburban development that levels forests is no longer taxpayer subsidized.

    But this is a privately-owned property, in-town property that borders a busy main street and a rail line. One man with a small lot on DeKalb Ave is not responsible for 50 years of American development policy.

    In fact, his lot is precisely the type of location that eco-forward cities like Portland steer development to with their tax structure. Why? Because dense housing in an already developed area that’s already attached to road and sewer infrastructure is environmentally superior to 1/2 acre suburban detached homes.

    We all live on properties that were once home to old trees. Protesting this guy cutting down a tree to develop his property is like protesting meat-eating while wearing a leather jacket. If you think Dekalb County’s residential lots shouldn’t be turned into homes, bulldoze your own house first.

    1. I understand your points, but I still feel bad that a tree that has lived for more than one hundred years is gone. I also hope the tree was removed legally and the court case has been decided. I am alway weary of trees being removed on a Saturday. Often Saturday removals are done to circumvent city officials.

    2. Uh…. tree was NOT 100 years old. Everything about that tree has been pulled from thin air, by a not so clear-minded person. For some reason, no one (news media) wanted to check or report any facts. There are thousands of trees just like it around here. ….If they wanted the land to remain an overgrown space, they could have purchased it. It is private property. I am sure those folks will go find something else, or someone else to be angry at for a ’cause’.

      Andisheh has is exactly right.

  9. Very sorry to see Grandma go. Does anyone know how old she turned out to be? And did they salvage the wood? It’d be nice to think that craftsmen will be giving her new purpose.

      1. Isn’t everybody’s name “made up” at one time or another? Why do you care? The tree is gone, and people are expressing their opinions about it. That’s what this blog is for– there’s no need for you to come here and go off on posters who don’t see eye-to-eye with you.

  10. I, too, feel bad that this very old tree has been felled, but at the end of the day, there was no legal recourse to prevent the property onwer from doing what he wanted– the civics lesson that we take away from this is that our laws usually work the way they’re supposed to, so the property owner prevailed. Now, while I’m not normally a “let’s-keep-private-property-owners-on-a-short-leash” kinda gal, given all of the condos & “dense housing” that already exist along this corridor, and have been sitting empty ever since they were built, I have to wonder whether building still more of them is really the wisest use of that land. But then, I don’t know for sure that this is what the property owner plans to do with this stretch, so I can’t say.

  11. This was done by a private property owner, meanwhile we progressive citizens of Decatur through our elected representatives have mowed down a whole swath of beautiful old specimen Magnolias and Oaks on public land in front of the old 5th Avenue School in Oakhurst and nobody took notice of it.

    1. My husband did, but we didn’t realize it was going to happen until it was too late. He probably would have strapped himself to them had he known.

    2. Amen! There was a magnificent magnolia on that corner and a maple tree that would have been the most glorious brilliant gold right about now. Both of them on the very periphery of the property. I just assumed that an attempt would be made to preserve the trees. I mean, it’s Decatur! The corner looks naked now…

      1. But it’s not “Decatur”. It’s CSD, which has its own perspective. You wouldn’t have thought that someone would put a system-full of buses on the Fifth Avenue lawn or use Westchester’s front lawn for parking either. I’ve learned that school systems just have a different perspective than do communities.

    3. Am I the only one who’s noticed that magnolias really aren’t all that compatible in an urban environment? Aside from the pods that they drop, they grow to be enormous, have low branches that can overtake hundreds of square feet on a piece of property and provide shade so dense that it kills anything living under it.

      I’ve long thought about writing a diatribe about the magnolias on Decatur Square. I’m not in favor of cutting them down, but I think we should acknowledge that there is a definite trade off in having them there.

      1. As much as I’m not a fan of magnolias either, my son would be bereft if the one in our neighbor’s yard were lost. Magnolias are quite possibly the best climbing trees EVER! Sturdy, tall, and lots of branches.

  12. Despite the variety of reactions to the trees being cut down, the question remain — WHY? Does anyone know what the plans are for that land that required cutting down the trees?

  13. Sigh, where were all of you whipper-snappers so long ago when all of my brothers and sisters were cut down to build Lake Claire and Candler Park? I coulda used your help then, my fine friends. But I was old, so let me go, and don’t worry about me: I’ll be coming soon to a coffee table near you.

    (Sent from the grave, of course…)

  14. As a resident of the area (read: I live across the street from said site), I’m excited about the development. My only hope is that it’s not Section 8…

  15. Dear DM-

    Time to give us another Ch2 News story. The Grandma Gordon one aired this morning.

    Thanks, WSB staff

    1. It’s funny you say that. The day after DM posted the bug story from the chick with the condo, it was on WSB at noon. I was thinking, what a coincidence since it really wasn’t a mainstream news story that people were following. Never know who’s lurking around…

  16. yeah thats what we really need is to turn GA into another brooklyn new york . keep the trees if folks wanna live around buildings move to ny are china!!!!!!

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