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University’s $400,000 Move of a Massive 250-Year-Old Tree Unearths a Piece of Local History

The University of Michigan's $400,000 move of a 250-year-old tree on its Ann Arbor campus is underway, dredging up a mass of earth, roots and a little bit local history along the way.

The crews began the relocation of the 700,000-pound bur oak tree over the weekend to accommodate an addition to the university's Ross School of Business and found a glass perfume bottle that is more than a century old near the base.

The bur oak tree readied for transport to a new location on campus. (Image source: Corey Seeman/Flickr) The bur oak tree readied for transport to a new location on campus. (Image source: Corey Seeman/Flickr)

The bottle was manufactured by the company Foote & Jenks, which was founded about 40 miles away from the campus in 1884 by two pharmacists, both with the first name Charles, the Ann Arbor News reported. The pair experimented with cosmetics and perfumes and five years after opening were confident their fragrances were so popular that their bottle "probably adorns every dresser in the city," the News noted of a quote in the 1889 Jackson Citizen Industrial Edition.

The Ann Arbor News reported that the bottle's style suggests it once held Foote & Jenks "Linden Bloom," a scent that was "happy, sweet and pungent fine, pure as dew and picked as wine." This perfume was apparently worn by first lady Frances Cleveland and actress Lily Langtry, sparking its popularity.

Thus far, the costly tree transport has not been without its snags. On Sunday, one of the many air bladders that helped to lift the tree burst, sending debris flying toward onlookers and emitting an thunderous blast, the Ann Arbor News reported in a separate article.

While the move was expected to be complete over the weekend, Sunday's snafu pushed its expected finish to Tuesday.

Front page image via Corey Seeman/Flickr.

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