as Wikipedia points out, Mill Ends Park in Portland is actually smaller. No, Waldo Park is interesting because of the age of its tree. The City says
Waldo Park is named for Judge William Waldo who came to Salem in 1843. Waldo was a lawyer and later became a Marion County Judge. He lived on an estate along Mill Creek in what is now the center of Salem. In 1872, a traveling salesman with a bundle of redwood saplings, convinced Waldo and many other Salemites to purchase the miracle trees.So where are the other Redwoods of '72? You'd think at least some of them have survived around town, and since houses from 1872 are few and far between, the locations of the trees might say something interesting about Salem history. If nothing else, some of the path of this mysterious salesman might be traced out.
But it's not obvious that someone has asked and documented this question. Cursory research hasn't turned up anything.
One of the problems, at least for me, is pervasive uncertainty about Redwoods and Sequoias. Wikipedia says Sequoia, the City says Redwood, and I'm not sure I can tell them apart. Based on the sizes of other trees of known date, it's hard to believe that the Waldo tree is really from 1872. Other, similar sized trees date from the middle of the 20th century.
The National Park Service and Sequoia Natural History Association have helpful discussions, but I'm still not confident. (Update: It's a Sequoia!)
|Sequoia Natural History Association|
After the Waldo tree, the next best known big trees of this type are surely the Star Trees at Willamette University. They seem to be Sequoias planted in 1942.
Here's another one whose date seems certain. One day I saw the owner of this house on Hoyt Street, and he said he'd planted the tree in the early 1960s. So it's only 50 years old.
Do you know of any others? Or know anything definite about the ones here? Are any of these really old - and possible candidates for the class of 1872?
While we're on the topic of trees, and thinking about trees that are still with us, some big ones have come down recently.
the last big earthquake! - or perhaps even as old as from 1550. Wow.
(You can see views of the tree in the Lord and Schryver "home garden" here - the home owners were maintaining a lower profile, but I guess if the tree's in the news, it's not difficult to locate the house and garden. Anyway, the role of the tree in the creative imagination of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver might be an interesting piece - perhaps someone from the Conservancy will write or already has written about this.)
Elsewhere, I noticed recently that the City cut down two big ones.
While the oak was diseased, the cross-sections of the fir trunks don't show disease, and you have to wonder why they were cut down.
It's a little like with bike rankings - the awards are an Encouragement project rather than an objective description of conditions, the goal being to continue to improve things.
It's easy to be cynical about the shortcomings. But that's beside the point.
Trees are something you notice when you are walking and biking, and not so much when you are in a car. They help clean the air, water, and soil, provide habitat, and incidentally provide aesthetic delight for us humans. We should know more about our trees!
(Urban tree coverage, graph from Morningside 360 Community Forest Presentation, oak and fir locations via google.)
Update, October 2017
A couple weeks back there was a nice story about the two Sequoias on Chemeketa Street.