Capone tree whacked by weather

Feb. 9, 2010 at 3:53 PM
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BALTIMORE, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A 70-year-old cherry tree donated to a Maryland hospital by notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone was damaged by the East Coast blizzard, the hospital said.

The weeping cherry tree donated to Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital by Capone after he received treatment for syphilis in 1939 was split in two during Saturday's storm, the Baltimore Sun reported Monday.

"I can't care if Capone was infamous or just famous, that tree he gave us was like a still-life fireworks display," said Stephen Alexander, a woodworker who witnessed the tree damage. "And I wonder what's going to happen to all that nice cherry wood."

Debra Schindler, the Union Memorial spokeswoman, said officials have not given up all hope for the tree.

"We were already concerned about the health of the tree and then this came along," said Debra Schindler, the Union Memorial spokeswoman. "As soon as the weather clears, an arborist will examine it and tell us what we can do."

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