Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Giant Cedar Stumps

The Pacific Northwest has some remarkably giant cedars.  One famous giant cedar stump is thought to be anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 years old.  It has been an attraction for almost 100 years.
A few mid-century postcards:

"Giant Cedar Stump on Highway 99, Washington - A group of Western Red Cedars - Thuja Placata Don - form a background for the 1250 year old giant which is twenty-five feet in diameter. Annually thousands of tourists drive through this roadside attraction." C-194 Ektachrome by J. Boyd Ellis

Same photographer, same angle and even the same postcard ID number but different car and the backdrop trees are a little larger.

"Giant Cedar Stump on Highway 99, Washington - A group of Western Red Cedars - Thuja Placata Don - form a background for the 1250 year old giant which is twenty-five feet in diameter. Annually thousands of tourists drive through this roadside attraction." C-194 Ektachrome by J. Boyd Ellis


"Washington's Giant Cedar Tree - This relic from a Western Red Cedar more than 2,000 years old stands along Interstate 5 about 14 miles north of Everett. Tourists frequently drive off the Freeway and take the short drive through the trunk. It is preserved at the request of Stillagumish residents. Placed along "Old 99" in 1922, the trunk is still a fond attraction." Color by Kyle Smith

My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting this ancient tree stump yesterday! It is now situated at the Smokey Point rest area along I-5 (milepost 207) about eight miles north of Marysville. Cars no longer drive through it and a roof has been built over it. The sides look different and I don't know if it's deterioration or that I happened to photograph the backside.



"The Big Cedar Stump. This famous stump remains as evidence of the giant trees which once forested this area. Over 20 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall, the huge "Western Red Cedar" is believed to have been more than 1000 years old. Discovered by early settlers of the area, the following is a resume of its recorded history:
1893 - The Stump was killed by a fire which started in its hollow base
1916 - After the top was removed, Paul Wangsmo and Ole Rodway cut and chopped three spines from the core and cut archways through the stump.
1922 - After cutting the stump off at its base, Ole Reinseth and Slim Husby used horse teams to drag it north 150 yards where it was set on a concrete base.
1939 - The stump, by now cracked, was taken apart and pieced back together just north of Portage Creek, alongside the newly completed U. S. 99. On May 27, Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha of Norway drove through the stump.
1971 - The stump's final move brought it here."

Another "famous" Washington cedar tree stump postcard I have is

History Link has this information with a slideshow of more postcards of this giant stump.
The article concludes with

Today all that remains is memories and countless postcards of the iconic abode. The original site (described on an old deed, according to Henry Lennstrom as: "The North half of the Northwest quarter of Section 27 Township 31 North Range 5 East W. M.") is notable mainly as an indistinct spot opposite the southeast corner of what is now the Arlington Airport.

Luckily, one publicly accessible vintage stump house still remains in the area. It was one that had originally been built in a huge Western Red Cedar stump by an area farmer named Joseph Kraetz. It was later sold and moved a couple times -- since 1923 it has been an attraction at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum (20722 67th Avenue NE) in Arlington.

And the novelty of stump houses still retains attraction for many people. Indeed, from January through June, 2003, the Edmonds Historical Museum (118 15th Avenue N.) mounted an exhibit -- "Home Sweet Home: Living in a Stump House" -- that was graced by a visit from the now elderly son of Axel, Henry Lennstrom.

Ancient trees are uber-vintage!

13 comments:

Hank Zaletel/Photolibrarian:http://www.flickr.com/photos/photolibrarian/9210322356/ said...

I have a very early photo from the 1920s that I would like to donate to the site. Could someone provide an email so that I can send the picture. Thanks. Hank Zaletel, Nevada, Iowa

Jana said...

Thank you so much!!!! My g-mail (which I chose because of my genealogy interest but sure seems appropriate for this photo . . .) treeclimber4@gmail.com :-)

Mike said...

Thanks, this was interesting. I happened to find it because I was researching a photo of a relative standing next to a drive-through tree in 1957. At first I thought it was a redwood in California, but it actually is the Giant Cedar Stump. Glad to see it still exists.

mike said...

Thanks, this was interesting. I happened to find it because I was researching a photo of a relative standing next to a drive-through tree in 1957. At first I thought it was a redwood in California, but it actually is the Giant Cedar Stump. Glad to see it still exists.

Jana said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

JoanD said...

we love this cedar stump! been visiting it forever.

Jana said...

Thank you for Visiting Vintage, JoanD

Anonymous said...

I met this tree stump around 1956 when we moved to Bellingham. Somewhere I have a picture taken in 1966 of me and my old 1962 Falcon parked in the tree but not sure where it is. Since the tree was moved in 1971, I now realize my pic would have been amongst the final years when one could still drive thru' the tree. For years I wondered if it survived and to my pleasure found it at one of the rests stops along I-5 (northbound) above Everett (someone said near Marysville which sounds about right).

I find it sad that this is one of the only remnants left of what was formerly old growth majestic cedar trees which abounded in that part of Washington state and when it finally does rot there will only be memories from photographs which isn't the same as standing next to the real thing.

Jana said...

I hope one day you find your 1966 photo! Thanks for stopping by Visiting Vintage!

Karen O'Brien said...

great blog - thank you. I'm interested in a scan of two postcards of Seward Park for a history book I'm working on - is that possible?
thank you,
Karen

Jana said...

I can't recall if I have any Seward Park postcards but if can find them I'll see how well they scan.

Karen O'Brien said...

thanks Jana - the postcards were posted April, 2013 - with other Seattle parks postcards. One is of the Seward Park torii and the other of the circular garden.
Karen

Jana said...

I forgot about those! I found my current scans and I'm happy to send them to you if you want to see if they'll work for your purposes. It will take a while for me to track down my original postcard to rescan so I hope the current scans will do. What's the best way to get them to you? If you want to leave a comment your email address, I preview comments before I publish them and can get it from your comment but then delete it so it's not published on this public blog - just comment with an email address and say do not publish my comment with email. I'd love to know more about your book!