09, 2007 07:21 PST
At different times historic descriptions of large trees lost to
The West Virginia Forestry Association, the statewide timber and
industry trade association, published a booklet a couple of
years ago titled
"Common Myths About Appalachian Forests". In the
booklet there are some very
interesting descriptions of the original forest and some
that leave one to wonder what other things and places early
credentialed observers saw and described.
I was recently rereading portions of the booklet I thought of
all the ENTS
that have never heard of one of the most famous dead trees from
so I thought I would forward it ...as taken from "Common
"West Virginia's most famous white oak is the one cut on
Trace Fork in Mingo
County in 1938. It was 582 years old, 145 feet tall, had a
spread of 96
feet, a diameter of 8 feet and seven inches at breast height
CBH) and put out the first limb 66 feet above the ground. It is
State's most publicized tree. Discs cut more than 90 feet above
where the diameter still exceeded three feet six inches, are on
display at the
State's museum in Charleston and in Percival Hall at the WVU
Forestry in Morgantown."
I should mention that the "Mingo" oak was already dead
when it was cut. The
tree had been long recognized as a unique tree in a unique
location and had
enjoyed some level of protection. Smoke from burning coal waste
(historically referred to as a gob pile) from a nearby coal mine
killed the tree prior to
it being cut down.
If anyone would like a link to where they could obtain a
complete copy of
the booklet, just holler...it costs $1.50....I'm not sure but it
looks like some
of the references used in the literature citation from CMAAF
might be worth
twice that to anyone doing old growth research.
09, 2007 09:58 PST
I have a book about West Virginia that has the
Mingo Oak in it.
Certainly was an impressive tree. I'm curious about what the
Virginia Forestry Association and the statewide timber and
industry trade association listed as some of the myths
the original forests.
Back to Russ
09, 2007 13:12 PST
There are several titles with a total of ten forestry related
The "Myths" are broken into categories with several of
descriptions well referenced. I have found myself wondering what
else some of the
referenced people wrote in their journals. Much
of the historical writing is
western Virginia specific.
Anyhow...Myth 1...."When European settlers arrived in
eastern North America,
they found the land occupied by old-growth forests with
living in harmony in nature" This
part of the booklet describes the size of
some of the ancient "Indian meadows" that had been
created by generations of
repeated fires and many other ways in which early humans
interacted with the
forest. The entire topic is covered in some detail and, as I
said, some of
the cited references look like a good read.
Some of the of the "myths"/issues could be up for a
little debate but most
of the booklet is very factually oriented and covers topics like
timber barons", "1907 floods in Pittsburgh"....
that helped to spawn the
Weeks Act of 1911 and the Clark-McNary Act in 1924 which led to
the formation of
the Monongahela NF by allowing the Federal Government to buy cut
However, being that West Virginia is one of the few heavily
where the majority of the land is not in public or industrial
Mon is only 900,000 acres....about 7% of the state's forest
cover...a lot of
the stuff is private property oriented.
There is also a lot of historical references to flooding, water
the significance of wild fire in many historic flooding events.
There is also a description of how the timber industry is
stuff like that.
Overall, I have found it to be an interesting and thought
I hope this description helps a little more.
09, 2007 18:15 PST
Apparently, the circumference was at the ground, it was 19 feet
9 inches at breast height, still massive. There is a picture on
this page, as well as some other links: http://www.wvculture.org/history/thisdayinwvhistory/0923.html
Also, a mention of a rival tree at Stony Brook Long Island,
mentioned on Colby Rucker's list at 21 feet 6 inches. Wow.