C.S. Osborne donates shade trees to town

Photo by Ron Leir C.S. Osborne president Jake Angell and some of the new shade trees financed by the firm along Warren St.
Photo by Ron Leir
C.S. Osborne president Jake Angell and some of the new shade trees financed by the firm along Warren St.


Several of the pride and joy of C.S. Osborne & Co. are no more.

The longtime Harrison leather, upholstery and industrial hand tool and supply manufacturer at Jersey and Warren Sts. has been the caretaker of a group of towering sycamore trees since they were planted around the property some 75 years ago, company president Jake Angell said.

Unfortunately, a number of those old beauties that grew to a height of about four stories caused some troubling issues for the town.

Their over-arching limbs, while providing a tremendous amount of shade, got tangled up in overhead utility lines and their spreading roots were pushing up through the sidewalk, according to Robert Van Riper, the town’s public works director.

And, since the town had contracted for the paving of Warren St. – where the problematic trees were located – the town decided it was an opportune time to take them down, Van Riper said.

Accepting the town’s actions, C.S. Osborne – which still retains several of the old sycamores around the corner – then took it upon itself to provide the town with replacement shade trees for the block.

“We bought 11 Chanticleer pears,” said Angell.

Typically, according to the Arbor Day Foundation website, these oval-shaped, leafy trees grow to 20 to 35 feet and its branches range from 16 to 25 feet in width. In spring, it produces white flower clusters and a bitter-tasting fruit that attracts birds. Its tailored shape and hardy dark wood make it a good “street tree” choice.

The town absorbed the planting costs for the new trees, Angell said.

Angell, representing the eighth generation of the business – which was founded in 1826 by Charles Samuel Osborne in Newark and moved to Harrison in 1906 – said the company opened its pocketbook “as part of what we consider our civic duty and caring about our community and its appearance.”

“We just said, ‘It’s the right thing to do,’ and we were happy to do it,” he added.

As another example of its good will, Angell noted that each year, C.S. Osborne partners with the Harrison Board of Education and takes on a summer intern and exposes that young person to a work experience in the company’s office.

“And a lot of these interns turn into full-time employees,” he said.

– Ron Leir 

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