Collins Center received world wide recognition whnen "Ripley's believe It Or Not" featured the "Tree With A Bank Account" in their weekly Sunday comics (1935)
The "Nichols Elm," which stood on Route 39, just west of Jennings Road, was a local land mark. It had been a stopping point for stage coaches, an Indian Trail Marker and a survey marker. In 1925, deterioration from the elements and a lightning strike had caused the necessity of repairs to keep the tree alive and upright. The citizens of Collins center and the surrounding areas collected money for these repairs, placing it in the bank under the name of "Elm Tree."
Repairs, including the filling of cavities and cables supporting several of the larger top branches, were made. The trusteeship of the remainder of the money was passed to the local Grange.
In 1928, New YorkState rebuilt Route 39. The "Nichols Elm" stood in the center of the proposed road. Plans were made to cut the tree. Local citizens were infuriorated. They petitioned the state, calling for the road to be built around the tree, rather than cutting the tree down. The state complied with the wishes of the citizens: the road was bent around the tree!
Age and "The Dutch Elm disease finally took their toll upon the old "Nichols Elm." On February 7, 1964, the famous "tree with a bank account" was fell. Growth rings showed that the tree was approximately 145 years old, meaning that the seed from which the tree had germinated, had been planted about 1819. Local newspapers carried the obituary of the famous tree:
Today, This simple plaque marks the spot where the "Tree with a bank account" once stood.
This page created: 01/20/99