15 years ago, an idea sparked in the small town of Yale, Illinois. Bertie Fischer and her brother decided to bring a mug tree to their hometown.
“My brother had been in the service and had seen one in some of his travels and thought we had the perfect tree, so it was his idea,” said Bertie Fischer, Mug Tree Co-Founder.
What started out as a sibling bonding experience, reeled in others. Soon the tree along State Road 49 was carrying hundreds of mugs from community members and tourists.
“Him and i were the first ones to put mugs on the tree. We really had no idea that it would go this far,” says Fischer.
It was a sad weekend for the town of Yale as heavy rains and winds toppled the mug tree over, leaving a hole in the heart of the community. Courtney McCartney, left a mug on the tree years ago and she says during her time of living in Yale she’s seen plenty of others do the same.
“People from a long ways away, other states, would bring out different mugs and hang on it. I know marathon runners would bring their water bottles and even hung to it,” says Courtney McCartney, Yale resident.
Although the tree’s departure brings some heartache, Fischer is proud that their small idea could mean so much to the place they called home. “It makes me very sad, very sad. But I know a lot of people enjoyed it and that makes me feel good,” said Fischer.
Fischer says she does not know what she will do with the mugs that survived the fall, but she is hopeful that someone else in the community can create another mug tree in the future.