Taxodium distichum

Bald Cypress

 

223 Linestown Road, Willow Street PA

 

Dave Stull

 

These three 125-year-old trees originated from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (veri- fied). Visitors to the Louisiana Pavilion (second to the last photo) were given seedlings of “a cypress tree,” and some of those seedlings now grow along Lines- town Road (75 feet tall with a trunk diame- ter of 24-30 inches).  (The owners of the property at the time of the Fair were John and Christiana Hershock.)

 

The Fair seedlings resulted in the spread of bald cypress to areas where they were not native. Many of the 1893 trees, for example, can be found flourishing in West Virginia even though the species has never been native to that state.  As reported by Rick Steelhammer (Charleston Gazette, Nov. 21, 2014):  "In his 2012 History of Tree Planting in West Virginia, WVU Forestry Professor Kenneth Carvell recalls arriving in Morgantown in the early 1950s and encountering five large, old bald cypress trees flourishing in the downtown area. He later noticed individual trees of the same approximate age in Fairmont and Beckley. Curious about how the trees ended up growing 200 miles north of their natural range, Carvell took increment borings of the trees which indicated that all of the bald cypress dated back to the early 1890s. After none of the property owners were able to tell Carvell the origins of their bald cypress trees, Carvell learned from library research that bald cypress seed- lings were given out free to those visiting the Louisiana Pavilion at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and speculated the West Virginia fair-goers transplanted their souvenirs in their yards."

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Still other Bald Cypress from the Fair were planted by Harlow Higginbotham in  Joliet, IL.  After the Fair closed, Higgin- botham used the Bald Cypress and other exhibit trees to establish an arboretum in what is now Pilcher Park.

 

The orange trunk protectors on two of the Stull trees, and the trunk scarring on the third tree, are due to hungry ponies and donkies on the property.

 

This amazing species can live 2,000 years (the oldest U.S. specimen, in Arkansas, is estimated at 2,070 years).