Home
About
Media
Reflections
Products

GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS!

We have several Herbie items left for sale:

Wooden ornaments ($75), bottle stoppers ($35), magnets ($14), bowls ($40-$135),
plates ($75), cutting boards ($25), bookmarks ($5), books ($20), ashes ($5), desk clock ($65), baseball bat ($230), vase ($200), end table ($400) and a few varied sized t shirts ($20).

We are open M-F, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.

The Herbie Project
Town of Yarmouth
200 Main Street
Yarmouth, ME 04096

Submitted by Marcia Noyes, Yarmouth Community Services Director
& Debra Hopkins, Yarmouth Tree Warden

The History
Yarmouth, Maine was home to New England’s largest American elm tree, affectionately known as “Herbie” since the 1950’s and was on the State Register of Big Trees since 1980. Frank Knight was Yarmouth’s Tree Warden for over 50 years, and took extra care of and pride in Herbie. After 50 years of treating Herbie and saving it from the extreme ravages of the Dutch elm disease, it was determined that Herbie had to be taken down to avoid further spread of the disease and for public safety. Herbie grew on a tiny little corner on Route 88 and Yankee Drive in a congested historic neighborhood. At one time, Yarmouth’s entire quaint Main Street village was lined with majestic American elm trees—all of which are long gone due to Dutch elm disease.

Herbie’s impressive stature of over 110 feet in height, 120 foot crown width and over 7 foot diameter presented a challenge for removal by Whitney Tree Services. Prior to the actual cut down date of January 18th, Whitney Tree Services removed over 15 upper limbs to aide in the one day public process of cutting down the behemoth tree. The scheduled cut down date was delayed by a day due to a bad winter blizzard, and finally happened during yet another snow storm on January 19th,, 2010 in front of a large media and public audience. It took an 85 ton crane from Cote Crane in Auburn to assist with the historic tree felling. The actual cutting of Herbie required a special Husquavarna chain saw with a massive 52” bar. The majestic elm came crashing down to a sea of onlookers who cheered and even got a bit teary. The 39,700 pound trunk was loaded on a flat bed and trucked free of charge by Scott Dugas to JD Sullivan & Sons Sawmill in New Gloucester, Maine.
A special “Lucas Mill” from Kingfield, Maine had to be brought in to cut Herbie’s mighty trunk—94 inches across at its widest point.

Everyone was anxious to know Herbie’s exact age. Peter Lammert of the Maine Forest Service was designated as the official counter of Herbie’s growth rings. After a week of careful sanding and cutting, Herbie was proclaimed to be 217 years old.

The Artists
This was not to be the end of our beloved Herbie! In order to preserve Herbie, a citizen committee known as The Herbie Project opted to give and/or sell this precious 217 year old elm wood to various wood artisans and crafters. Proceeds from the sales of the various items would fund Yarmouth’s first Tree Trust to plant new street trees in Yarmouth. With over 8000 board feet in Herbie there was plenty of “Tree for All” and wood for all sorts of creative ideas.

Over 50 mostly Maine artisans created chairs, stools, tables, benches, desk, clock, music stand, guitar, lamps, platters, plates, bowls, vases, bracelets, cutting boards, bottle stoppers, knives and bookmarks that were among the many items that were sold at the 2010 Yarmouth Clam Festival and at The Herbie Project
“Tree for All” Silent & Live Auction at DeLorme Map in Yarmouth on November 13, 2010.

Herbie’s Publicity
Thanks to his personal interest, an article written by Associated Press author David Sharp, Herbie became world famous and viral in less than 24 hours of its removal on that fateful winter snowy day on January 19th, 2010. Articles and media coverage have raised local, regional, state, national, and even international awareness due to extensive publicity (some samples enclosed denoted with *):
• Associated Press articles by David Sharp* (even appeared in the Bangkok Newspaper!)
• Local TV media coverage: WCSH, WGME, WMTW and NECN
• National Public Radio
• CBS Evening news piece with Katie Couric and Steve Hartman in February 2010.
• Many YouTube video clips
• Local newspaper coverage – Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland Press Herald, The Forecaster
• The Boston Globe*
• Northern Woodlands magazine (by Scott Gibson)* – November 2010
• Sawmill & Woodlot Management magazine (by Jan Santerre)* – October/November 2010
• Antique Week (by Eric Rodenberg)* – December 3, 2010
• Advertising award for ST Vreeland’s Herbie Project Auction poster*.


Why The Herbie Project is reCOGnizable!
The Herbie Project committee is 13 dedicated individuals comprised of Yarmouth citizens, town staff, state forest service staff and community members. Most of The Herbie Project activities contributed to boosting the local economy; by processing and handling Herbie’s bountiful wood, the sawmill received a much-needed financial boost during difficult economic times. The Herbie Project also supported Maine’s creative economy with selling art work of over 50 wood artisans. Local Yarmouth businesses such as Vreeland Advertising, Dugas Trucking and DeLorme Map gave back to the community with their generous corporate donations.

Prior to product sales, a community fund raising campaign raised over $15,000 in private and corporate donations (see sample flyer enclosed). The sales of Herbie products netted $19,000 after the July 2010 Clam Festival and an additional $28,000 after the “Tree for All” auction in November. After all the expenses were paid (including the entire tree removal and processing) there is $45,000 in Yarmouth’s Tree Trust account to ensure that new street trees will continue in Herbie’s legacy to remove air and water pollution, to improve property values, to provide animal habitats and to beautify the places where we live and work. All of those benefits have been or will be realized without any increase to local property taxes, which makes The Herbie Project very sustainable program with ability for replication by other communities.

Thank you to all who helped make the Herbie Project such a success!
After the completion of our on-line, live and silent auctions, we are reassessing our Herbie items stock and our next steps.

Thank you for your patience and your support of this tremendous project.
We have already raised $45,000 for the Yarmouth Tree Trust --to plant new street trees in Yarmouth.


Herbie’s Legacy Inspires Yarmouth Tree Trust

Click here to download the Herbie Project Information Flyer

Yarmouth was home to New England’s largest American Elm tree – affectionately known since the 1950s as “Herbie” – that used to reign over the corner of Yankee Drive and East Main Street. Like so many American Elms, Herbie finally succumbing to Dutch Elm Disease, an introduced fungus that is spread by bark beetles. After decades of diligent effort by Yarmouth’s volunteer Tree Wardens Frank Knight and Debbie Hopkins and 217 years of life, Herbie was removed in January of 2010. Yarmouth has lost nearly 800 American Elms to this disease in the past fifty years, although none as grand as Herbie. In honor of Herbie’s legacy, the Town of Yarmouth seeks to replace this majestic tree and others lost in previous years with new, disease-resistant elms and other types of trees. In order to do this, Yarmouth is creating a Tree Trust.

What is a Tree Trust?

A Tree Trust is an investment in Yarmouth’s quality of place. The large, broad-leaved trees lining the streets of Yarmouth need care and eventual replacement. The cost associated with these activities is considerable, but the benefits of street trees more than justify the expense.

You can help!

The Town of Yarmouth is asking for donations from citizens, businesses and friends of Herbie to help fund Herbie’s removal and replacement but especially to create a Yarmouth Tree Trust. Your contribution will ensure our town will remain green and beautiful for our children and grandchildren’s future.


© 2010-2011 Yarmouth Community Services
The Herbie Project