A Magnificent "Stump"

July 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The Chicago Stump.  I'm a fascinated by this tree/stump/relic because of its tragic history and what it said about us as resource managers and what our culture values then and now.  When living this giant sequoia was called "The General Noble Tree."  What could possibly possess us to reduce a tree so named, so valued as to give it a name, to a "stump."  Seems all we needed was the desire to share it with the world in Chicago in 1893.  For a touch of irony, General Noble, became the Secretary of Interior (1889-1893) and it was Noble who, in 1890, helped create the General Grant National Park (later Kings Canyon), and enacted legislation that protected the General Grant tree and surrounding giant sequoias.  

The felling of the giant tree was described by Hubert Howe Bancroft: 

The saw was withdrawn, the last wedge driven. The immense tree quivered like one in agony, and with a crushing, raging, deafening sound it fell, the extreme top, with its branches, falling upon an opposite hill and breaking into a million pieces. The larger part split as it fell at the base of the fifty foot stump, and lay like the hulk of a monster ship - the weight of that part being estimated at over 200 tons.  - Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Book of the Fair (thanks to Cathedral Grove website for quotation - http://www.cathedralgrove.eu/text/05-Pictures-Politics-4.htm ).



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