Maine Things Monday: “Herbie the Tree” caretaker, Frank Knight

May 14, 2012

In Yarmouth, Maine an Elm tree is famous.  “Herbie the Tree.”  The largest American Elm in New England. We lived in that idyllic town, down the road {and up the hill}, from Herbie for eight years.  Heartbreakingly, Dutch Elm disease overtook the 200-plus-year-old tree in 2010. Yarmouth and Herbie’s caretaker, Frank Knight, the town tree warden, had announced the end had come. When that majestic tree was felled it was a major moment in the towns’ history and for all the past and present residents, especially for Knight who’d saved Herbie from several bouts of the disease.

Frank Knight cared for Herbie and the rest of the towns’ trees for 50 years. Knight was quoted as saying he’d lost a friend the day that Herbie came down.

Today the world lost Frank Knight.  He was 103 years old, lived a full life, and leaves behind a legacy laced with a love for trees and a caring, community spirit.

In Yarmouth, next to the Community Garden is the Frank Knight Forest. It’s a perfect plot for wandering and catching glimpses of deer. This carving below of Knight was made using wood from Herbie and he will be laid to rest in a coffin made of the same wood.

It is with a collective feeling of loss, and great thanks, that we say goodbye to Frank Knight who made Yarmouth and Herbie very happy for many years.

3 Responses to “Maine Things Monday: “Herbie the Tree” caretaker, Frank Knight”

  1. Gretchen Says:

    Thank you for sharing that sad news- always hard to lose an icon, but what a tremendous legacy he left us (a tree-mendous legacy that he “leaves”?- sorry, couldn’t resist).

  2. jjb123 Says:

    Great post. I drove by Herbie twice a day for 4 years between 1989 – 1992 in my way to YHS. He was a great tree. That he will hold Mr. Knight for the rest of time is poetic.

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