TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (AP) - Workers at the birthplace of Helen Keller had to cut down a more than 200-year-old oak tree that the famed activist and writer climbed as a girl.
The tree had been damaged by a tornado in July and was hollowed out due to decades of insect infestation and decay. Once, she was stranded in its branches until Anne Sullivan, her teacher, came to her rescue, Pilkilton told the newspaper.
"It took a whole side of the tree", Pilkilton explained.
"Isn't that the saddest thing?" said Sue Pilkilton, the executive director of Ivy Green, confirming the incident, according to NBC News. The museum has received requests for souvenir pieces of the tree and offers to have some of the wood carved into a memento for the museum, she said. We're very fortunate that the limbs did not do any damage to anything. "We have tried for years to save that tree".
"We're very disappointed", Lynne Weaver, an Ivy Green docent, told Reuters.
Hellen Keller was born healthy in 1880, but an illness left her blind and deaf. Keller, who lost both sight and hearing at 19 months, was once trapped in the tree during a storm until Annie Sullivan, her teacher and companion, carried her to safety.
Keller's achievements were made possible in part by Sullivan, whose determination to educate Keller was chronicled in Keller's autobiography and the 1962 film, "The Miracle Worker". According to Yahoo News on Tuesday, it was a favored place at the Keller estate in Tuscumbia, Alabama as the school children recognized it from the stories Keller shared as a child.