When one of Lockwood Park's oldest oak trees was snapped off in a windstorm during a sudden Skokie microburst on Aug. 30, 2013, park district landscape supervisor Steve Ames and superintendent of parks Mike Rea discussed an idea.
With the park located on an old trail through what used to be swampland (now Gross Point Road), Rea suggested using the remnants of the old tree to honor the area's dominant Native American tribe, the Potawatomi.
With that in mind, the district commissioned a carving of the tree — to honor not only the tribe — but also native wildlife and nearby Skokie parks bearing Native American names.
On Tuesday, Illinois artist Eric Widitz arrived at Lockwood Park, chainsaw and chisels in hand, to begin the project. Widitz honed his craft over several years while living and working in the Pacific Northwest, having also previously worked as a landscape designer and furniture maker.
The sculpture is expected to take no more than a week to carve. Lockwood Park is located at 5230 Carol St., at the corner of Dempster Street and Gross Point Road.