The Old Oak Earns a New Life on the Hilltop

It is said that Hackley’s iconic Old Oak welcomed generations of students, families, and employees to the Hilltop from its place at the entrance of the Quad for more than 100 years.

On August 4, 2020, the Old Oak fell during Tropical Storm Isaiah. Shortly thereafter, the salvaged pieces of our beloved oak were stored on campus pending the launch of a wood memorial project, which officially began in summer 2022. With the help of our partners at Consigli Construction (who are also working on the construction of the Center for the Creative Arts and Technology), the Old Oak will be given new life on the Hilltop.

On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, several flatbed trailers arrived at Hackley to move the rescued wood to Excelsior Wood in Kingston, New York, for milling—a process that takes approximately seven months. This was the first step in what will be a yearlong initiative coordinated and gifted to the School by Consigli Construction. After the milling process is complete, the wood will be moved to Consigli’s own woodworking shop, where it will be recreated into custom furniture for select areas on the Hilltop, including as a podium for King Chapel, a new desk for the Head of School’s office, and three benches that will be placed outside of each division office with dedication plaques that highlight the origin of the wood and the history of the Old Oak. The benches will welcome students K-12 much like the original Old Oak did for many decades. The Old Oak memorial project is expected to be completed by Commencement 2023.
“Based on preliminary measurements and calculations, the team at Consigli Construction is confident that we will be able to create all five planned items. Any remaining scrap material saved from the furniture fabrication process can then be made into souvenirs, such as ornaments, cutting boards, picture frames, keychains, and more. We will make those decisions once we have final quantities determined from the milling process,” shared Robert Aldrich, Director of Operations and Campus Planning. “The Consigli team is so excited that they have also offered the opportunity for students to visit their woodworking shop and be a part of the process in spring 2023. We could not have asked for a better partnership, and we are grateful to Consigli for coordinating this project and covering all expenses as a gift to Hackley.”
Consigli Construction was established in 1905 by Peter Consigli & Sons on the cornerstones of hard work, integrity, and pride in craftsmanship. It is now one of the largest employee-owned construction managers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with more than 1,600 employees, ten regional offices on the east coast from Maine to Washington, D.C., and more than 650 skilled carpenters, laborers, and masons on staff.

This story originally appeared in the Hackley Review Winter 2022-2023 edition. To see the full issue, click here.