DUNNELLON-One of several huge palm trees in the parking lot at First Realty of Dunnellon fell on the city’s only remaining three-hole outhouse Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
The palm tree probably had been infected by a disease known as ganoderma, a fungal infection that attacks mature palms. The common name for the disease is “butt rot
“It’s very sad. We almost cried when we saw it,” said Realtor Valerie Hanchar. “Our little outhouse is a historic building, the only three-seater left in Dunnellon. It’s a sad thing
While the outhouse has not been used in years, and certainly was not used during annual parties held in the business’s parking lot during Boom Town Days, it still was a town institution, Hanchar said.
While it probably would be dangerous to remove the tree and leave the damaged outhouse standing, Hanchar said she planned to look into the possibility of putting up a replica.
The First Realty site is part of the historic district of Dunnellon. The main structure was built in 1903, and the outhouse probably dated from about the same time, Hanchar said.
There was one owner during the building’s first 70 years or so, a family that was in the phosphate business and raised children in a gracious home, with a nice front porch and large inner rooms.
When they moved out in the 1970s, the building stood empty until about five years ago, when First Realty moved in, Hanchar said.
A local horticulturist said Friday that fungal growths like large mushrooms growing at the site of the break, at the bottom of the trunk of the palm tree, almost definitely indicate the cause was ganoderma, as detailed in Betrock’s “Guide to Landscape Palms” and on the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service Web site. For more information, visit Web site http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PP100.