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Historic Preservation Board extends ‘Octopus Tree’ dialog 

June 16, 2023
By Marcy Shortuse
While there was only one item on the agenda for the June meeting of the Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board on Wednesday, June 14, it was one that could not be decided easily. It was all about the “Octopus Tree,” a banyan that has stood along the property line at 181 Gilchrist Avenue since the early 1900s. The ground where it stands was once part of the Crowninshield compound and the children who used to play there gave it its strange nickname. The property that includes 181 and 161 Gilchrist Avenue is owned by a family that wants to demolish the large house, as well as the small cottage that the banyan tree stands right next to and has actually grown under and into.  Therein lies the rub.

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