Remember that gorgeous dappled shade under the high, cooling canopies of the trees that arched over the sidewalks around Madison's Capitol Square? Remember that natural air conditioning that formed a micro climate around the Capitol on even the busiest, warmest days of the Farmers' Market? This is how it looked on the North Carroll Street block in 2005. Hold on to those memories, because that's all we have now.
Last fall I wrote about what was happening to the Square in "Murdering trees on the Capitol Square".
The old, big trees on the outside terrace of the Capitol Square are being removed. Having cleared South Carroll Street, the city can now move on to North Carroll and clear those big, old pesky trees in the background.Those big, old pesky trees are gone now (click on the link to see what they looked like last fall). The last of the big trees on the outside of the Square have been cut down.
This was the State Street corner of the Square yesterday, with North Carroll on the right. Sure, it will be repaved, and the trees will be replaced. Huge, overarching trees with great individual character, a variety of species that withstood everything Mother Nature could throw at them for the better part of a century, have been cut down. Sure, they would have died eventually. But they could have been treasured until then, and they could have been individually replaced. Instead, they're been taken down all at once and replaced by tidy little identical toy maples. In place of variety, monoculture (in other words, they could all be wiped out by a single new, unanticipated virus). And in place of shade, an exposed desert.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the Wisconsin State Journal story about the tree replacement and renovation, thanks to reader TL in the comments, whose search skills are better than mine. Officials seem to prefer the word "promenade" to "exposed desert," but I think we're talking about the same thing.