Honking Tree's fate decidedThe Two Harbors City Council on Monday night decided what the next incarnation of the Honking Tree will be – an artist’s chainsaw carving of Split Rock Lighthouse.
The Two Harbors City Council on Monday night decided what the next incarnation of the Honking Tree will be – an artist’s chainsaw carving of Split Rock Lighthouse.
The piece, which will sit across from the Dairy Queen on Seventh Avenue (Hwy. 61) in the city. It is expected to be about 12 feet tall and will depict only the tower portion of the iconic Split Rock, which turns 100 years old this year. Council members had a choice between it and the city’s own lighthouse on Agate Bay. Most said Split Rock, located 15 miles north of the city, had more of a connection to the city and area than the Two Harbors Lighthouse.
Council Chairman Dan Jones said he favored the Split Rock design to be fair to all North Shore residents since the tree grew outside of city limits. He and other members consider the tree a Lake County symbol, not just one for the city.
It was decided last fall that the shorn tree trunk would be used in some sort of artists’ work on Seventh Avenue. Branches from the tree have been sliced and emblazoned with a Honking Tree design and sold as memorial medallions to raise money for a memorial. Much of the work done since the trunk was salvaged last spring has been donated.
Design played a part in the lighthouse decision. Artist John Gage said earlier Monday he preferred to carve something from the tree. Depicting the Two Harbors Lighthouse, because it is square and more squat than Split Rock, would likely have led to boards being planed from the Honking Tree trunk and building from a frame.
Council member Jason Kuettel said he liked the more “traditional tower” at Split Rock.
Council member John Dover, who also sits on the Trees and Trails Commission that has been working on what to do with the trunk, said he has “nothing against our lighthouse” but Split Rock is better known across the state.
Council member Mary Rosati said the art should promote the Two Harbors Lighthouse simply because it isn’t as well known. The corner where the structure will sit is where drivers see directional signs pointing south to Waterfront Drive toward the lighthouse and other attractions on Agate Bay.
Dover said the piece will include “cliff rocks” at the base and lighting. Gage would like to have something up by June, when tourists begin flocking to the area.
Gage said carving a Split Rock tower would take only about a third of the trunk. He would like to carve something else from the rest or add to the plans on Seventh Street.
The Honking Tree was cut down last April from the median on the Two Harbors Expressway. It had become a landmark for area residents and, by some accounts, was a signal for those returning from trips south that they were back home on the Shore. They honked in appreciation. The white pine was a hold-over from the clearcutting done to install the highway in the 1960s.
There have been no arrests in the vandalism that caused an uproar in the region.