Historic home no match for state’s second tallest (now fallen) Torrey pine

Feb. 1 El Nino storm dropped Torrey pine onto historic cottage.

A historic cottage was crushed underneath a Torrey pine in Escondido during a storm earlier this month. Not just any Torrey pine either, but one believed to be the second tallest in the state.

The two-story cottage, in the 500 block of E 4th Ave. was just a few feet away from the occupied Pritchett House, home to a family of four, according to Carol Rea of the Escondido Historic Preservation Commission.

While the giant tree with an 8-foot diameter trunk could have landed on historic 1880s two-story Pritchett House where the Cojulun family was at home during the afternoon, it fell instead about 20 feet away, Rea said.

Homeowner Alex Cojulun said he was in the kitchen eating an orange at the kitchen sink when he thought he heard a branch fall. He watched through the window as the tree suddenly plummeted to the earth.

The tree destroyed the small board and batten one-bedroom cottage nearby that Cojulun had moved from a lot of 7th Avenue, east of Centre City Parkway in 2009.

Cojulun had planned to restore the cottage, but had yet to begin work. The bungalow had been one of ten workers’ cottages used to house sheep ranch workers. Now only one other of the original ten cottages still stands.

“El Nino didn’t ask for a demolition permit,” Cojulun said. He now plans to move another historic cottage to his lot to renovate, according to Rea.

Trimmers took three days to remove the tree and massive trunk from the lot.

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