144-Year-Old Massive Fig Tree in Plaza Where Los Angeles Was Founded Collapses

A toppled Moreton Bay fig at El Pueblo de Los Angeles is seen on March 2, 2019. (Credit: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument via Los Angeles Times)

A toppled Moreton Bay fig at El Pueblo de Los Angeles is seen on March 2, 2019. (Credit: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument via Los Angeles Times)

They were doing the line dance when what sounded like firecrackers split the air.

Because the sound was to be expected at a Chinese lantern festival, no one immediately noticed the demise of a fig tree that for 144 years had watched skyscrapers built around it and a freeway carved out beside it; that saw the changing fashions and hairstyles of the people beneath it; that sheltered a growing number of homeless people from rain and sun.

It wasn’t the sound of firecrackers. It was the sound of a tree dying.

“We saw the lanterns attached to the tree start to go,” said Teena Apeles, whose daughter’s troupe was waiting to perform. “We knew something was wrong.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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