Few Asheville trees have attracted as much attention as the magnolia located on a parcel of downtown parkland that was sold to developer Stewart Coleman, which is at the center of a debate surrounding that controversial land deal.
It’s also become the symbolic center of a mini culture war of sorts between a Pagan group, Coven Oldenwilde, and a conservative political group, the Carolina Stompers. Last summer, the coven held a ceremony to protect the tree from being removed to make way for a condominum building. They encircled it, chanting spells — called “barbarous words of power” — that they said were meant to keep the tree safe from harm.
In this March 18, 2008, letter, the Asheville Tree Commission takes note of the 100-year-old flowering tree’s historic significance and recommends that Council “take another look at means to protect the magnolia tree in Pack Square due to the importance of the tree as an historical symbol to Asheville and because it is intended to be removed for private purposes versus public use.”
Click here to download a PDF of the document.