Naperville foundation relaunching Hobson Oak project
A Naperville project that has raised more than $31,000 from the remains of an old oak tree is back at it again.
Organizers of the Hobson Oak initiative are distributing more wood from the former bur oak from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Wehrli Furniture, 576 W. 5th Ave., Naperville. Eligible to pick up portions of the kiln-dried material are artists who will commit to crafting the tree pieces into works to be auctioned for the Naperville Parks Foundation and partner charities.
"It is what is remaining of the Hobson Oak that we would like to get into the hands of artists so they can volunteer their time and talents to build a piece for local charities," said Troy Cooper, Naperville Parks Foundation president.
Saturday's distribution relaunches a project that has been in the works since DuPage County cut down the Hobson Oak in November 2016. Arborists and officials feared its craggy limbs otherwise might crash onto a bike path or lanes of traffic along Hobson near Greene Road in an unincorporated area between Naperville and Woodridge.
The tree likely was 250 years old and some considered it a landmark.
Artists, woodworkers, crafters and even brewers who received wood as part of at least two earlier distributions have turned portions of its remnants into bowls, desks, end tables, notecards, a guitar, a tea box, a vase, ornaments, fairy furniture and poetry, among other creative remembrances. Fans of Darien craft breweries Miskatonic Brewing Company and Hop Butcher for the World even drank some of it last year after it was used in the production process for Ole Knotty Pale Ale and Hobson Milk Stout.
Through charity auctions for organizations such as 360 Youth Services, Loaves & Fishes Community Services and the Edward Foundation, the tree became $31,000 for local projects, Parks Foundation officials say.
That's why the foundation is working to start another round of the preservation project. Cooper said he hopes artists will finish their works in time for auctions this fall.
"We've had a lot of interest in the Hobson Oak," Cooper said, "and it's been a lot of fun for us."