Arlington’s ‘cone tree house’ has a story and a song

It’s like something in front of a frat house after a night of too much beer.

The trees in front of the house along 67th Avenue are plastered with orange traffic cones.

People like to stick weird things in trees: shoes, bicycles, toilet paper.

But traffic-coning a tree? What’s up with that?

It’s “the cone tree house” at 14001 67th Avenue NE in Arlington, north of Marysville. There’s even a little song about it.

The orange cones have been growing on trees here for about a dozen years. It started shortly after Larry Selfridge and his family moved into the house on the stretch of two-lane byway not far from Strawberry Fields Athletic Complex.

“Somebody threw a cone out of their car in the ditch,” Selfridge said, “and I put it in the tree. Figured somebody would come pick it up. They never did. Then another one showed up, and I put it in the tree.”

And so it went, with orange begetting more orange. About 20 molded rubber objects, including a few orange barrels, adorn the branches.

Most arrived anonymously in the ditch. A few were delivered personally.

“I got a note from some girl. It said, ‘My boyfriend found this cone. Can you put this in the tree?’ I even got the note on the refrigerator still,” Selfridge said.

His pride and joy: “See that little cone right there?” he said, pointing to the baby cone of the bunch. “It’s from a soccer team. The kids all signed the cone and dropped it off. They said, ‘Would you put this in the tree for us?’ ”

The cones have a different persona in the dark.

“At nighttime when you come over the hill and your headlights hit it then they light up and you can see them point in different ways,” he said.

He doesn’t mind strangers traipsing on his lawn. “People pull in the driveway and take pictures. I say, ‘Hey, it’s a dollar a picture.’ I never got my dollar, but that’s OK.”

He said the roadside attraction even inspired a song: “The little kids sing ‘One-two-three, here comes the cone tree.’ They sing this little chant in their minivan.”

His daughter, Hannah, 12, has grown up with traffic cones in her trees. “It’s cool,” she said.

“It’s all just a fluke,” said her dad.

Send What’s Up With That? suggestions to Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

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