SAN DIEGO — Watching a tall Torrey pine topple piece by piece, some longtime Point Loma residents nearly cried. 

"It brings tears to your eyes when you've seen a tree outside your kitchen window, it's not just like any tree," said Cleo Vandoren. 

The towering Torrey has grown up with many of its neighbors. 

"I'm 72 and I'm a native of Loma Portal, I've seen that tree ever since it was a lot smaller," David Showley said. 

"I've been looking at that tree since I was in 4th grade," said Vandoren.  

But none have known it longer than 80-year-old Al Higdon. 

"When I was a small boy and there was that tree they are cutting down right now it was about 6 to 8 inches in diameter and about 15 feet high," said Higdon.  

He says due to the danger of the classic pine's heavy sprawling limbs and coconut-sized dropping pinecones, a homeowner hired Atlas Tree Service to come chop it down. 

"The tree is beautiful, of course, but the tree is so old [and] one of its giant limbs supposedly has a crack -  in it ever fell down it would smashed the house and the people in it, so it's just a hazard that has to be taken care of," said Higdon. "It is extremely sad."  

He and his wife watched as men scaled up and down big branches with ropes. 

All so they could mow down massive chunks into smaller pieces. 

"I wish I would've brought my chains last night and chained myself to tree," David Showley said. "I was kind of hoping it would fall over and fall on the house maybe. It's just sad they're cutting down all the trees in Point Loma." 

One nearby family only sleeps on their first floor for fear that the tree may tumble on them.  

Coping through the cutting, soon many will only have memories. 

"That's not just any tree, that's an epic tree, and it's just sad," said Vandoren.