Cypress 2800 Years Old

Dublin Core

Title

Cypress 2800 Years Old

Alternative Title

The Senator

Subject

Longwood (Fla.)
Ecotourism--Florida
Bald cypress
Cypresses

Description

The giant bald cypress tree known as The Senator during the first quarter of the 20th century. As early as the late 1800s, this centuries-old tree was considered a tourist destination, but it wasn't until 1927 that a park was established around the tree. Senator Moses O. Overstreet donated six acres of land , which included the tree, to Seminole County to establish a park with the stipulation that a road would be built to take visitors into the park. The generosity of Senator Overstreet inspired residents to name the giant cypress tree "The Senator."

Located at 761 General Hutchinson Parkway in present-day Longwood, Florida, the new park was named the Big Tree Park in honor of the main attraction. In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge dedicated a bronze plaque at the site of the tree. The plaque was stolen in 1945. Based on a core sample taken by the American Forestry Association, The Senator was estimated to be 3500 years old in 1946. The Big Tree Park also features another giant cypress estimated to be 2000 years old. In 2005, local elementary students names the tree Lady Liberty. It was considered to be the companion tree to The Senator, as they were only 40 feet apart. The Senator continued to be a tourist attraction and local landmark until January 16, 2012, when it was lost in a fire.

Abstract

2800 Years Old or So: To calculate the age of a cypress present many difficulties. Nature of habitat, health of tree and accidents caused by the elements, all influence the rate of growth and so the number of annual rings. In our studies of logs and plugs taken from the outer ten inches of both hollow and solid trees we found as low as fifteen years (15 growth rings) per inch, to as high as seventy years (70 growth rings) per inch. In general the rate of diameter growth of cypress, as compared with that of other trees, decreases with age. But there are sometimes also alternating periods of slow and rapid growth. It must be evident then that we cannot arrive at an average growth rate and apply it with prevision. It is difficult to determine accurately the age of an individual whose stubby, crippled top and hollow trunk on the one hand, record catastrophes, but whose immense diameter on the other, might suggest centuries and even millenia. Whether you want to parallel its birth with the Battle of Maraton (490 BC) or with the Glorious day of Egypt (1500-1300 BC) depends on your own conservatish or enthusiasm. Our estimate is 2,800 years. It may only be 2,200; then again it may even be 3,500! What are a few centuries more or less in the life of a cypress?

Creator

Chase & Company

Source

Original 5 x 7 inch black and white photograph by Chase & Company: Chase Collection (MS 14), box 211, folder 3.30B, item 129, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1900-1925

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original 5 x 7 inch black and white photograph by Chase & Company.

Is Part Of

Chase Collection (MS 14), box 211, folder 3.30B, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Chase Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

Folder referenced in Chase Collection finding guide, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/chase.htm.

Format

image/jpeg

Extent

2.4 MB

Medium

5 x 7 inch black and white photograph

Language

eng

Type

Still Image

Coverage

Seminole Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida

Accrual Method

Donation

Mediator

History Teacher
Geography Teacher

Provenance

Entire Chase Collection is comprised of four separate accessions from various donors, including Cecilia Johnson, the granddaughter of Joshua Coffin Chase and the children of Randall Chase.

Rights Holder

The displayed collection item is housed at Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Rights to this item belong to the said institution, and therefore inquiries about the item should be directed there. RICHES of Central Florida has obtained permission from Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida to display this item for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Curator

Fry, Sarah

Digital Collection

External Reference

"Big Tree Park." Parks and Preservation, Seminole County. http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/locations/Big-Tree-Park.stml.
Blozan, Will. "The Senator Cypress is Re-elected to Top Position in Eastern Forests." Native Tree Society. http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldtrips/florida/senator/senator_cypress.htm.
"The Senator - Florida's Big Tree." Floridata. http://mobile.floridata.com/Plants/Taxodiaceae/Taxodium%20distichum/108.
Central Florida Society for Historical Preservation. Longwood. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2001.

Transcript

2800 Years Old or So: To calculate the age of a cypress present many difficulties. Nature of habitat, health of tree and accidents caused by the elements, all influence the rate of growth and so the number of annual rings. In our studies of logs and plugs taken from the outer ten inches of both hollow and solid trees we found as low as fifteen years (15 growth rings) per inch, to as high as seventy years (70 growth rings) per inch. In general the rate of diameter growth of cypress, as compared with that of other trees, decreases with age. But there are sometimes also alternating periods of slow and rapid growth. It must be evident then that we cannot arrive at an average growth rate and apply it with prevision. It is difficult to determine accurately the age of an individual whose stubby, crippled top and hollow trunk on the one hand, record catastrophes, but whose immense diameter on the other, might suggest centuries and even millenia. Whether you want to parallel its birth with the Battle of Maraton (490 BC) or with the Glorious day of Egypt (1500-1300 BC) depends on your own conservatish or enthusiasm. Our estimate is 2,800 years. It may only be 2,200; then again it may even be 3,500! What are a few centuries more or less in the life of a cypress?

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 black and white photograph

Physical Dimensions

5 x 7 inch

Locations

Categories