Our Courtyard Tree was Older and More Famous Than I Realized

A few days ago, I posted up a few photos of where our courtyard tree used to be (it was taken down sometime on Saturday). I ended up emailing our landlord, Paddy, asking about the backstory and what led up to its removal.

With her permission, I’m sharing what she wrote to me:

I planted it back in about 1992 – it was a Bradford Pear tree. They are
known for the fragrant blooms in the spring and beautiful canopy – however,
they are also known for their weak limbs. That is the reason I had to take
it down. About three or four years ago, two large limbs came down in a
storm. They took out several windows at the same time. Since then, smaller
limbs have come down – again, threatening safety of windows and people in
the courtyard.

When the initial limbs came down, I had the tree wired so the remaining
limbs would be more stable – however, when I had a tree keeper take a look
at it last fall, he told me it was time to take it down because it would be
losing more limbs, even with a good trimming it wasn’t safe. With today’s
wind, I am glad it’s down.

I have been looking for a replacement. We will be planting one soon. Of
course it will be smaller, but will do well there again.

How amazing, that the tree was over 20 years old! I mentioned how bummed I was that I hadn’t taken a photograph of the tree in full bloom… and Paddy was kind enough to send along a few photos:

A view of the tree looking in, from Logan Boulevard.

A view from the courtyard, looking out onto the boulevard.

In our email exchange, I also found out that our building (and by extension, our courtyard/tree) is famous! Apparently Sandra Bullock’s character lived in the building in the movie While You Were Sleeping. During the shooting of the film, Disney rented out four of the apartments and ended up relocating the tenants offsite for a few months. According to Paddy, she still sometimes gets calls from people who loved the movie, and want their photos taken in the courtyard.

The movie was filmed in 1995, which would make the tree only about 3 years old.

Having spent a few Christmases here, the courtyard is indeed a lovely sight when lights are strewn about the windows and doorframes.

Check out this post to see more location shots from the movie.

Who would have thought the courtyard tree would have a small role in a major motion picture? What a long and lovely run of 21 years. Thanks for the beautiful blossoms and all the shade, my friend – you will be missed.

The Tree Has Left the Building
Wherein I am Photographed, Unawares

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Amazing! I’ve watched this movie twice and didn’t realize it’s the building you’ve lived! Next time we’re in town will come take a good look of your front yard.

    Mabel Reply

  2. I saw that movie a number of times, wistfully wishing my years in Chicago could be anywhere near as Cinderella-happy-ending-ish. I always thought her building & courtyard were Chicago-typical, but nicer than mine, so I kind of kept an eye out for it, even after I moved away and occasionally visited. And there it is, right in your own backyard!

    I think this is further proof that you & Liz got the Cinderella-happy-ending with each other.

    Juliet Reply

  3. Hi
    Love your website. I happened upon this picture of the apt. building and I think my Aunt lived there long ago. I live in California and it hit me..wow I have been there, must of been over 40 years ago. What street in what town? I have to ask my brother and sister if they remember going there.

    Patti A Reply

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