ONLY THE TREES ARE DIFFERENT

James Michener proclaimed Walpole the  “quintessential New England village” with its well preserved 19th century ambience, well-maintained homes and buildings, and its trees.

Main Street Walpole, NH. Looking north circa 1904

Trees need to be planned, and planted.

As a community, Walpole always comes together, most recently with the renovation of the library, and the conservation of the Walpole Gateway. In January, 2020, the selectboard noted many of our trees are dying. Plans must be made to replace them. What better project for community involvement. In the February issue of the CLARION, I proposed a group form, gather information (and funds) and move forward preserving our quintessential appearance, and “plant ahead” for both today and the future. Please contact the CLARION if you would like to help, but first look at the images below to see that “only the trees are different.”

One of the most photographically documented areas in town, by nineteenth-century stereo views, and early 20th-century postcards, is the Walpole Common, followed by Main Street. Looking at these images over 125 years we can see that “only the trees are different.” Residents made sure that as trees grew, matured and were lost, that they were replaced. What a great community project to coordinate tree care and replacement so as the years go by “only the trees are different.”

I wrote my first piece about Walpole’s trees in the summer of 2017 when I had to replace a dying sugar maple in my front yard. It was not quite 50 years old. I needed to replace it for my enjoyment, and that of future generations. I began looking at images to get an idea for replanting, and what I found was “only the trees are different.”

My earliest image of my home and the Common is on this circa 1877 stereo view (doing the math, over 140 years ago). Many of the images may be “clicked” for a full screen view.

And, just found in April 2020, and now in my collection is this 1870s view (which may be clicked and enlarged also)

Below looking at the Town House, and church is as it looked about 1845 with a front Greek portico with four fluted Doric pillars. No trees at this time in this area on the common.

But below, along with the new front on the church, you can see some saplings have been planted.

but, back to main street

Main Street, Walpole. Looking South circa 1904

and a 1970s aerial view of the Village Common, Square and shopping “district” – you will enjoy this one full screen – just click

I am fortunate to have several early postcards of my home to see the placement and growth of trees through the decades. This is the west side of the common.

and a tad further south on Elm Street, the west side of the Common.

and below a gallery around the Common that you can open up to see the changes, and in some cases some newly planted trees – now gone and replaced, or soon to be replaced.

Not to look at one spot – my spot that needed fixing. Looking at and coming up with recommendations and solutions to fix spots around town is what a volunteer group must take on. Watch the changes below

below is 1970 when the former owners purchased my home – note my sugar maple reaching upwards in front of the car. The massive tree in front was long gone before my arrival in 2002.

but, as it is said, all good things may come to pass.

to be renewed

let’s get together, and do what we can to continue this green “circle of life” in the best way possible as a community. Thank you, RAY

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.