ST. LOUIS — Tower Grove Park visitors in south St. Louis love to stop and stare at a catalpa tree south of the Turkish Pavilion. The unique shape led to a host of nicknames, including the Keebler Elf tree, Harry Potter tree, and Lord of the Rings tree.

“It has so much character,” said Beth Casagrand, community programs director for Tower Grove Park. “It’s such a great tree.”

Tower Grove Park officials announced on Tuesday the renowned catalpa tree will be coming down.

A social media post from the park indicated the decision was not made lightly. A team of arborists determined there was decay throughout the tree.

“For the safety of our park guests, it was time to say goodbye,” said Casagrand.

A date for removal has not been determined but farewell events will be held around the tree on June 9th. Story and craft time will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Artists and anyone wishing to create their own depiction of the tree are invited to participate in “artists’ hours” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A toast with Schlafly beer will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Schlafly Beer collaborated with the park in 2020 and released “Park Lager.” One of the cans features the tree.

Park visitors say it’s sad to know the tree is being removed but the news is also triggering some positive memories. Lauren and Zach Kisley took engagement photos in front of the tree.

“We love Tower Grove Park and for some reason, we stopped here around this tree,” said Lauren Kisley.

“It will be sad to walk this way every day and not see it, but we have good memories,” said Zach Kisley.

James Agnew stopped in front of the tree to take a few photos with his phone Tuesday.

“It’s just kind of sad that it’s going to be gone,” Agnew said. “I wanted to come and get some pictures of it.”

Park visitor Lindsey Nobolt said, “I feel like everybody who walks this park has a connection to this tree.”

The park plans to work with local artisans “to create art and other pieces to honor the memory of this tree.”

Park officials anyone with fond memories involving the tree to share those reflections through the park’s social media pages, listed below.