Littleton

Eagle Scout seeks fame for bloomtown

Teen thinks crabapple trees may set record

Jennifer Smith
From left, Larry Borger, Cole Hancock, Mary Gardinier and Dick Dugdale display the sign the city presented to Gardinier in honor of her late husband, Vaughn, who created the city's Crabapple Trail.
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Eagle Scout Cole Hancock needs everyone's help to get Littleton into the record books as the city with the most crabapple trees per capita.

“Why not?” he asks. “We checked, and as best we can tell, no one else has claimed the record. So we decided to count them and make an application.”

To help, go into your back yard and count all the crabapple trees that aren't visible from the street, then send your address and the number to littletoncrabappletrail@gmail.com or to Littleton Crabapple Trail Inc., PO Box 110, Littleton, CO 80160.

Hancock will head up the effort to get the rest of them counted and submit an application to Guinness World Records.

“Who knows? Maybe we can claim the record, and it will be up to some other city to do their own count and beat us if they can,” he said.

Hancock, 15, has been tending to the trees since 2011, when he took on the cause for his Eagle Scout project. That's the same year signs went up marking the city's Crabapple Route, conceived of by former Mayor Vaughn Gardinier. It was his idea 45 years ago to line Littleton's streets with the hardy, colorful crabapple trees not just to make them pretty, but to give the city something unique.

“Forty years later, people see all those trees and think, `That's kind of cool. Whoever thought of that?'” said Larry Borger, president of Littleton Crabapple Trail Inc. “Vaughn was the crabapple guy. Sometimes people would say, `Gardinier … they make a mess all over.' He always had a running battle with the city.”

Gardinier died in 2012, but his wife, Mary, still sits on the board of LCTI. She says he was hoping to arrange for horse-drawn carriages to someday trot the trail.

On April 19, Hancock and others from Littleton Boy Scout Troop 361 were set to plant about 30 more trees along the seven-mile Crabapple Route, adding to the 100 they've planted since 2011. Borger estimates there is a total of 1,500 to 2,000 existing trees in the city all told. These days, LCTI plants trees that flower but don't bear fruit, making for a less messy flourish of beauty each spring.

For more information and to see a map of the trail, visit www.littletoncrabappletrail.org.