Thursday, May 23, 2024 May 23, 2024
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THE FICUS AFFAIR

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ECO WATCH If you’re one of the thousands of motorists who’s passed the now-abandoned Rogers Electric building at McCommas and Central, you may be wondering about the gigantic ficus tree that is now the lone occupant of the building.

There it waits, towering some 26 feet high and looming over the staircase, prompting at least one reader to write us about its fate. Who”s taking care of the tree, our reader wondered. We ask: Is this a blatant case of eco-neglect? Should the Sierra Club get involved?

The overgrown shrub was once in danger, but it has been nursed back to health over the past few years by relatives of the late AUDREY and BILL ROGERS, who used to own the Rogers Electric biz. It seems that when architect extraordinaire GEORGE DAHL created the two-story edifice in 1959, Bill Rogers ordered indoor foliage. Dahl agreed, but insisted on living plants. Enter the ficus.

But after Bill died, the family sold the business in 1966, and later sold the building in the mid-80s. When the building was vacated in 1989. the investor-owners defaulted, That left no one to care for the tree, which began dying.

Before the Environmental Police came, the family trust took over the building again. Rogers’ relatives have since nurtured the ficus, helping it survive in the makeshift arboretum, battling not only the windows that restrain it but North Texas’ scorching summers as well,

The 33-year old ficus is now doing fine in its air-conditioned treehouse, says Realtor ELTON HARWELL, who’s trying to sell the building. Now all the tree needs is a name. Suggestions?

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