Library Tree Celebrated as a So Pas Landmark

Library Tree, a Moreton Bay fig tree, was designated as City Landmark Number 55 by the City Council. A celebration at Library Park last week included comments, poetry, music and art. Photo by Nancy Lem

Library Tree, the large Moreton Bay fig tree on the west side of Library Park, was celebrated as an official City Landmark in comments, art, poetry and song last Thursday during the Farmers’ Market. The event followed a tree-planting ceremony honoring former mayor, and current city councilman, Richard D. Schneider.

Last month, the South Pasadena City Council designated the tree as City Landmark Number 55. This was done in accordance with required findings as outlined in the City’s Cultural Heritage Ordinance, according to the minutes of the City Council’s Dec. 5 meeting.

Numerous officials commented on the notable event. They included Mayor Marina Khubesrian; Steve Fjeldsted, City Director of Library, Arts, and Culture; Mark Gallatin, Cultural Heritage Commission chair; Steven Lawrence, South Pasadena Preservation Foundation president; and David Uwins, Library Board of Trustees president.

At the site, local water-color artist Pete Morris had set up his easel. Before and during the ceremony, he worked on a rendering of the historic tree. He has previously painted the tree. His works are exhibited at the South Pasadena Public Library and are on display for sale at Kaldi Coffee and Tea across the street.

Longtime South Pasadena resident Bill Kloezeman told the story of the tree’s origin. He said his father Willem Kloezeman, who was a 46-year city employee, planted it in 1930.

South Pasadena’s Poet Laureate Ron Koertge read the poem “Trees”  by American poet Joyce Kilmer. The first lines of the poem, which was first published in 1913, read as follows:

“I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.”

The event concluded with an acoustic guitar and vocal performance by Goh Kurosawa. Those at the celebration and people visiting the nearby Farmers’ Market were able to enjoy the early evening performance at the historic Moreton Bay Library Tree.