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Why Cleveland's weeping willow tree is a local treasure

The Weeping Willow at Edgewater Park.
Posted at 4:00 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 19:25:10-04

CLEVELAND — The willow tree at Edgewater Park is so iconic to Cleveland that its mere existence attracts residents from all over Northeast Ohio.

The presence of the Willow tree, located at the northern tip of the shoreline, is immediately noticeable and one that gets questions of its origin.

“We get questions all the time about this tree,” said Judy MacKeigan, of the Cleveland Metroparks. “Why it's here, who planted it, where it came from.”

The willow tree has been a silent witness to Cleveland’s history over the years.

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The willow tree at Edgewater Park.

Historical records point to some clues about the tree. What historians know for sure is the land the tree sits on was not there prior to 1950. The willow tree shows up on aerial maps at least around 1979.

From the battering winds of the lake during the winters to the heat and sun during the summer, the Willow tree has stood the test of time for decades.

The famous tree at Edgewater Park is featured in News 5's 100 Hidden Gems of Cleveland list and its origin and meaning to Cleveland were investigated in this story.

Residents from all over do yoga, take family and graduation photos, and even get married under the tree.

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Visitors take a selfie in front of Cleveland's willow tree.

The willow tree sparks a reaction in every visitor who stops by its flowing branches.

When News 5 photojournalist Dave Colabine recently visited the Willow tree, reactions from Clevelanders were immediate.

"It's very poetic and it's gorgeous," said one visitor. Another said, "it's like music. It's beautiful."

"It's a great place to come and just unwind. It actually makes me feel soothing," said another visitor.

The willow tree continues to be a symbol of Cleveland's resilience and a place that provides comfort to those who sit under its branches.

“If you're here, luckily alone, you could sit under that tree, watch the waves, and it's just it's just a beautiful spot,” said MacKeigan.

RELATED: The Weeping Willow tree at Edgewater is Cleveland's most famous tree

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