But the Line Is Straight
Feb. 28, 1907
An old and massive California live oak used to mark the division between three Spanish land grants lies in pieces on the ground because an Edison foreman refused to run a transmission line around it.
“The tree was a full hundred feet in its spread,” The Times says,” and stood on the end of a little plateau, all alone in its greatness. The massive trunk could not be circled by three men stretching their arms and touching their fingertips—hardly by four men. Above, it split into four great branches that spread out and out and then again downward, containing with an evergreen shield a refuge where two full companies of soldiers might have bivouacked in comfort.”
The live oak marks the junction of the San Rafael, Los Feliz and Providencia land grants, The Times says, adding: “The tree itself stands within the Providencia but it was a starting point from which direction was taken.”
“The foreman is said to be in grave danger of losing his position and is very repentant,” the paper says. “He bawled like a spanked bad boy before the board (note: the property was owned by the Water Board, which had given Edison permission to run the line). However the great old tree is lying among a smother of chips and there is no way to replace the work of nature’s 300 years.”
Bonus fact: The San Rafael, Providencia and San Rafael land grants touched at a point in Burbank that is circled by the on-ramp for the southbound Golden State Freeway at the westbound lanes of Burbank Boulevard.
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