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Two Harbors to rethink Honking Tree memorial

Honking tree memorial

TWO HARBORS -- It's back to the design table with the planned memorial for the Honking Tree.

After getting static from residents about plans to turn the trunk of the tree into a replica of Split Rock Lighthouse, the City Council and its Trees and Trails Commission will rethink the design and probably use the Two Harbors Light Station as a guide.

Council and commission member John Dover said he heard plenty of opposition to the Split Rock plan and the placing of the memorial on Seventh Avenue across from the Dairy Queen. That opposition included comments on the News-Chronicle Web site, letters to the editor and a petition from 13 women demanding the city rethink the proposal pitched last month. They wanted a depiction of the Agate Bay icon.

Mel Sando, director of the Lake County Historical Society, which runs the light station bed and breakfast and historic site, said "it's nice to know the City Council listens to the people." He said he didn't have a problem with designing the tree to look like Split Rock, but he thought any memorial might be better placed on the site where the Honking Tree came from: in the expressway median west of town.

"Put it where it once was," he said.

The city will have to find another spot for the memorial. Lot owner Rita Schluneger said someone is looking at the property targeted for the memorial and it could be sold. She suggested the Chamber of Commerce information center near the city campground to the east.

The Trees and Trails Commission will work out the details at its 7 p.m. meeting next Thursday at City Hall.

When discussing the design last month, council members said Split Rock better represented the whole county. They stressed that the Honking Tree was part of the Lake County experience and not just one for Two Harborites. They also said Split Rock, which is celebrating 100 years of use this year, is better known to visitors to the area.

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 people returning from trips south to honk as they returned home to the Shore.