Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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hastings.jpgMy friend Rhett Beavers, the landscape architect, had a copy of the elusive Trees of Santa Monica and generously gifted his copy to the Chicken Corner library. And what a labor of love this paperback by George Hastings (1888-1964), edited by Grace L. Heintz, is. Hastings, a science teacher and naturalist, walked and biked dozens of Santa Monica streets, identifying each tree and including its address and whether it was on the street or in a yard. There are special sections for landmarks like City Hall or the Santa Monica College. First published in 1944, the book features a phone-directory-like front section and then a descriptive section that includes addresses. Consulted almost 70 years after its first edition, it's a historical document as well, though I am sure many of the trees listed in '44 are still in place. A glance at Tenth Street shows 33 different types of trees -- from Water Wattle to Beefwood to a live oak that Hastings noted "may be the oldest tree in the city."

A puzzler: the copy Rhett gave me was published in 1981, a 2nd edition. A note by its editor, Heintz, mentions both that some of the trees listed may be gone and that she had retraced Hasting's steps. But she does not explain to what extent she edited the list of trees -- to wit, did she delete the Hasting trees that were not standing in the 1970s when she was revising? Looks like Chicken Corner will have to see a 1944 edition to have those questions answered. Cluck!

A special thanks, also, to the writer John Shannon, who alerted Chicken Corner to this wonderful directory.

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