Naperville foundation relaunching Hobson Oak project

DuPage County crews begin to take down the Hobson Oak in November 2016 near the corner of Hobson and Greene roads. Wood from the tree since has been used by artists to create pieces to be auctioned for charity. (Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, November 2016) 

A Naperville project that has raised more than $31,000 from the remains of an old oak tree is back at it again. 

Organizers of the Hobson Oak initiative are distributing more wood from the former bur oak from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Wehrli Furniture, 576 W. 5th Ave., Naperville. Eligible to pick up portions of the kiln-dried material are artists who will commit to crafting the tree pieces into works to be auctioned for the Naperville Outdoor Alliance and partner charities.

“It is what is remaining of the Hobson Oak that we would like to get into the hands of artists so they can volunteer their time and talents to build a piece for local charities,” said Troy Cooper, Naperville Outdoor Alliance president.

Saturday’s distribution relaunches a project that has been in the works since DuPage County cut down the Hobson Oak in November 2016. Arborists and officials feared its craggy limbs otherwise might crash onto a bike path or lanes of traffic along Hobson near Greene Road in an unincorporated area between Naperville and Woodridge.

The tree likely was 250 years old and some considered it a landmark.

Artists, woodworkers, crafters and even brewers who received wood as part of at least two earlier distributions have turned portions of its remnants into bowls, desks, end tables, notecards, a guitar, a tea box, a vase, ornaments, fairy furniture and poetry, among other creative remembrances. Fans of Darien craft breweries Miskatonic Brewing Company and Hop Butcher for the World even drank some of it last year after it was used in the production process for Ole Knotty Pale Ale and Hobson Milk Stout.

Through charity auctions for organizations such as 360 Youth Services, Loaves & Fishes Community Services and the Edward Foundation, the tree became $31,000 for local projects, Outdoor Alliance officials say.

That’s why the foundation is working to start another round of the preservation project. Cooper said he hopes artists will finish their works in time for auctions this fall.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the Hobson Oak,” Cooper said, “and it’s been a lot of fun for us.”

Nate DeMont of DeMont Guitars in Oswego is among artists who have crafted charitable auction pieces from the wood of the former Hobson Oak tree, which was cut down in late 2016 from its perch near Naperville and Woodridge. Daily Herald file photo, December 2017

A guitar made from the wood of the former Hobson Oak is among pieces that have helped the tree bring in more than $31,000 for charities in a project led by the Naperville Outdoor Alliance. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, November 2018

Dave Horton and Perry Martin of Naperville are among the woodworkers who created furniture for charitable auction from the wood of the former Hobson Oak tree near Naperville and Woodridge. Daily Herald file photo, November 2017

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