Hargrave has pictures of his house on Ramona Avenue from 1916, which show the tree looming large even then.
Neighbors question whether the tree really had to be removed.
Laguna Beach codes require adjacent properties to maintain most street trees in the city. The house adjacent to the tree is owned by Los Angeles resident Doris Evans, who rents the house out.
Hargrave claims the city had been asking Evans to trim the tree for four years. He said the first notice he and neighbors were given that the tree was to be removed came in a notification to ensure his vehicle was out of the way for the project the day before the removal operation.
Evans could not be reached for comment, but neighbors believe the decision to cut the tree down may have been made to eliminate future trimming costs. A few said they would have gladly paid the costs to save the tree.
"I think if they went door-to-door and took a collection, the neighborhood would have kicked in to save the sucker," resident Mary Kastner said.
But the tree might not have been salvageable, according to the tree cutter.
The leader of the 3D Landscaping crew that took the tree down said the center of the tree's trunk was dead, but two large and heavy branches growing horizontally were still alive, which could be dangerous.
One of the large branches was hanging over apartments next door to the tree's property and the other grew over the street's power lines.
The landscaper, who declined to give his name, said eucalyptus trees are known for dropping large branches. If one dropped, there was a possibility of property damage or of leaving the area without power.
Residents said despite the danger they would have liked the option to seek alternatives to taking the tree down completely.
Kastner said the tree was a landmark in the area. She said she routinely swims out into the ocean and always used the large tree as a landmark to maintain her bearings.