Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Senator - Big Tree Park - Longwood, FL

This is now a tribute to the Senator who fell to a fire on January 16, 2012 after 3,500 years of existence.  You can still go see the Lady Liberty tree, but the Senator is no more.

Parking was free and we walked right up to the trail following the signage for the tree.  We walked for a while on a wooden trail and then rounded the corner.  I was aware that this was going to be a tall tree - but had no idea just how big it was. 

The Senator was the oldest pond cypress tree in the world, located in Big Tree Park, Longwood, FL. It once stand at an impressive 125 feet (38 m) tall, with a trunk diameter of 17.5 feet (5.3 m).

The Seminole Indians and other Native American Indians who lived throughout Central Florida used this tree as a landmark. In the late 19th century, the tree attracted visitors even though much of the surrounding land was swamp ; reaching the tree was done by leaping from log to log. A walkway was later constructed by the Works Progress Administration . In 1925, a hurricane  destroyed the top of the tree, reducing its original height of 165 feet (50 m) to a height of 118 feet (36 m). The Senator was named for Florida State Senator Moses Overstreet,  who donated the tree and surrounding land to Seminole County for a park in 1927. In 1929, former president Calvin Coolidge visited The Senator and dedicated the site with a commemorative bronze plaque.

As of 1993, The Senator was estimated to be 3,400-3,500 years old, the 5th oldest tree in the world. The tree's volume had previously been estimated at 4,300 cubic feet (120 m3), but a 2006 survey by Will Blozan of the Native Tree Society has measured the volume at well over 5,100 cubic feet (140 m3), making The Senator not only the largest Pond Cypress in the United States, but also the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River.

This should give you a good reference on the size of the tree

see how small Duane is next to the tree - he is 6 ft tall

The other tree in the park to check out - the only one now - is the Lady Liberty -

In addition there is a rather large bike trail that goes from the Big Tree Park area over to the Preserve area.

If you are interested in going to see Lady Liberty or exploring the trails with your family and friends - check out this link for all the parks information - http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/guide/parks/park1.aspx

1 comment:

    By Paul Peterzell. Longwood Florida
    A place where people gathered, travelled far and wide, Witnessing a marvel, Suddenly it died.
    Over 3500 years old, towering above it all, one early January morning, they sadly watched it fall.
    Named for a Senator, dedicated by a president, It wasn’t until now, that I realize what it meant.
    For years the main attraction, delighted at the sight, Walking away in amazement, its grandeur and its might!
    I heard of the fire,
    as I shed some tears, How could this happen, after so many happy years?
    MIllions were in awe, generations came to see How one sad day in history, A fire destroyed this tree.
    A park’s namesake indeed, Such beauty all around, The “Senator” will be missed, no replacement can be found.
    As we pause and think, how much this tree had meant, 3500 years have gone by beautiful time spent.
    Big tree Park remains, memories will take hold A cypress oh so famous, another story told.