Rather than chopping down the dying tree, she gave it another lease of life.
Sharalee Armitage Howard was absolutely devastated to learn that she had to chop down the 110-year-old cottonwood tree in front of her Idaho home. For more than 10 years, she watched the tree slowly decaying and dying in front of her eyes but there was just something about the tree that kept her enamored.
Howard knew that she had to take down the tree before it toppled over someone or something during a storm and her worst fears came true when a large branch dropped on her son's car and caused heavy damages. But, rather than completely erasing such an important trait of her home, she came up with a brilliant plan to give the dying tree a new purpose in life.
A nonprofit organization by the name of Little Free Library is helping people to keep the love for books alive by “inspiring a love of reading, building community, and sparking creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.” This concept has become quite popular and there are over 75,000 libraries in 88 different countries so far. They came to the rescue of Armitage Howard and rather than chopping down the tree, they decided that the large stump of the 110-year-old Cottonwood tree would make a perfect setting for a brand new 'Little Free Library'.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Armitage Howard said, "Someone willing to take the time to give new life to a stump would never cut down a healthy tree to do it. It was dropping HUGE branches for years onto the sidewalk and street (even without windy weather). We were really worried about someone getting hurt. One finally hit our son’s car. The average lifespan of a cottonwood tree is merely 40-50 years… so it got to live more than twice that already!”
The experts carved out the stump from the inside, constructed a roof, and installed a cozy interior that looks extremely appealing. The exterior lighting of the tree-turned-library makes it look straight out of a fairytale and honestly, it is one of the prettiest libraries we have seen recently. According to a report by The Washington Post, Little Free Library was founded in 2009 by the late Todd H. Bol that aims to promote literacy.
Howard, who is an avid book lover paid about $5,000 for a tree removal company to slowly take down the cottonwood tree. It took two whole days to bring the giant tree down by cutting off one section at a time. She said, "I really hated to get rid of that tree — it had such curb appeal. But the core had been rotting for years. When it came time to hollow out the stump for my library, all we had to do was reach in and pull out the soft insides."
While it was definitely painful for her to watch the tree getting taken down, thinking that the tree will now fulfill a different purpose made it better. After it was done, Howard sketched out a few different designs for the Little Free Library and finally settled on a peaked roof-little house design. Once the basic designing was done, Howard added some bookshelves inside and installed stone steps that will take you to the cozy nook of the library.
She also ordered an antique glass window and her neighbor helped install a light inside. The final outcome was beautiful and Howard posted a photo of her creation on Facebook last year. Expectedly, it went viral.
She concluded, "I'm shocked at how many people I've heard from these past several months. It's really caught on, maybe because it crosses over into a lot of different passions: nature, books, libraries, and people who just appreciate community projects."