Tire in Tree

A tire hangs from the upper branches of a tree in front of 110 E. Main St. in Leola. The tire was put in the tree about 50 years ago, when the tree was much smaller.

Dear Dr. Scribblertires:

I grew up in Bareville and always wondered about the tires in trees along Route 23. One is at 282 W. Main St., Leola, at the Hellers Church Road intersection. They are widening the road there and I fear the tree might be in jeopardy. Another is at 110 E. Main St. in Leola.

I’m a tree guy, and I have never been able to figure out how the tires got up there and what was the point of putting them there. No old-timer can give me an answer.

Thomas Morton

Upper Leacock Township

Dear Thomas:

If those tires did not fall from motorized vehicles being transported by air, indeed how did they wind up near the tops of 50-foot-tall evergreens? Nobody is foolish enough to lug a heavy tire to the top of a softwood tree whose branches could bend and crack at any point, right?

To answer your question, Thomas, the Scribbler took a road trip to Leola, site of his so-called education in grades 1 to 8. First stop: 110 E. Main.

Robert and Marlene Groff have been married and living there for nearly 50 years. Robert has lived there even longer. He was born there.

Robert estimated he first noticed the tire in the top of the short-needled pine in his front yard about 45 years ago. The tire was close to the top of the tree. Since then, another 15 to 20 feet of tree has grown above it.

At one time, there were five tires in the tops of evergreens in the Leola-Bareville area, Robert explained. One tree and tire were cut down two years ago on Brethren Creek Road, east of the Groffs’ home. The others, including the one at Hellers Church Road, remain stuck in trees west of their home.

The Groffs have no idea how the tire, which sits well above the roof of their two-story house, got up there.

“It was a prank of some kind, I’m sure,” Robert said.

“People have commented on it with a smile on their faces,” Marlene added.

“Nobody has confessed and a lot of people know about it,” Robert observed.

On the other end of town, Katrina Lopez, who has lived with her family at 282-284 W. Main St. for three years, had never seen or heard about a tire lodged in a pine tree until the Scribbler dropped by and began searching the top branches of an evergreen in front of her house. The tree stands well back from Route 23, perhaps beyond the reach of road reconstruction.

Lopez suggested we walk behind her house to 286A, where Cliff Mohler has lived for 20 years. If anyone would know about a tire in a tree, she said, Mohler would.

“I’ve never seen the tires, but I’ve heard about them,” Mohler told Lopez and the Scribbler. “A couple guys put some tires in tall trees and let ’em grow. They did it as a joke.”

As Mohler was explaining what he knew, the Scribbler suddenly spotted the tire high in the dark recesses of the evergreen. He pointed up there. Lopez immediately recognized the tire and photographed it with her smartphone.

Mohler stared for a long time, but he could not locate the tire. “I wonder why I can’t see it,” he said.

“You’re old, Cliff,” Lopez said. Mohler admitted his aging eyes might be a problem. But he kept looking.

Eventually, he probably will spot it. After half a century stuck high in a tree, that tire is not going anywhere.

Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes "The Scribbler'' column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at scribblerlnp@gmail.com.