Palo Alto's Namesake Tagged

By Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Aug 16, 2010  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Palo Alto's Namesake Tagged

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One of the most famous trees in entire Bay Area has fallen victim to graffiti.  The tree is so famous it is California Historic Landmark No. 2 on the statewide list.  It is also the namesake of the city of Palo Alto and the symbol of Stanford University.

El Palo Alto is a redwood that is more than 1,000 years old.  The 162 foot tree lives in El Palo Alto Park off El Camino Real.

Earlier this week, someone noticed the tree was spray painted with white and green paint and messaged the news to the city's arborist.

View Images of Damaged Tree

Managing arborist Dave Dockter told Palo Alto online the tree is a destination location and routinely attracts visitors from outside the state as well as other countries.

The graffiti is mostly illegible, but the words "nail gun" are clear on the tree trunk.

The graffiti is not expected to damage the tree. Dockter recommends spray painting the tree with brown paint to mask the graffiti.  He said the more drastic action of removing the vandalized bark would take away a protective layer of a very old tree.  A final decision on what to do next will be made sometime this week.

Lt. Sandra Brown of the Palo Alto Police Department told the Mercury News officers found liquor bottles and other trash on the ground near the vandalized tree.  Brown said she has no leads in the case.

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