ST. LOUIS – Time is running out to save a piece of St. Louis history hidden quietly in an abandoned south city YMCA.
Next month, the building is scheduled to be demolished. But it's what's growing inside that many say needs to be saved.
It's barely been seen in years. But at the center of the old YMCA building on the 2000 block of Grand is a hundred-year-old Gingko tree that is now the focus of a desperate rescue mission.
"It makes it sentimental in a way because it was there before even the building was there," said Debbie Redmond, former YMCA employee and local historian.
Redmond says the building was actually built around the tree back in 1935.
Now with the structure scheduled to be demolished for an apartment building, Redmond is one of a few handful hoping the tree doesn't go down with the rubble.
"I've tried to find other groups that might be interested in having the tree or helping with the tree, but it would be very costly. From what I heard it'd be around $6,000 to do anything with the tree," said Redmond.
To Redmond, who used to work in this building, losing the tree means losing an important part of St Louis history
"Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola probably did come into the building, and I know some of them, later on, did help with fundraising," said Redmond.
Redmond has already appealed to the Missouri Botanical Gardens to re-home the tree; but they told us Wednesday, they don't have those capabilities.
And a spokesperson for the city of St. Louis also told us they don't have a tree preservation ordinance - so they can't help either.
"I just hate to see something torn down because that's all they could do," said Redmond.
The one bright spot of this demolition: other buried secrets on this property will be unearthed.
"[There's} a cornerstone, but someone has broken in so we don't know if they've gotten to the time capsule or not. I found newspaper articles about it. It is history and it is part of St. Louis," said Redmond.
After construction begins, the cornerstone will be transported to another YMCA location for preservation.
Demolition is slated to begin in a few weeks.
Anyone who wants to help preserve the tree should contact Debbie Redmond at: firstname.lastname@example.org.