Fresno, CA

The interesting background of the massive Sequoia tree known as Mark Twain that was cut down in 1891

Cristoval Victorial
The big stump of the Mark Twain Sequoia TreePhoto byAmerican Museum of Natural History

Located in what is known today as Kings Canyon National Park (east of Fresno, California), lies the forest holding some of the most biggest and largest trees in all the world. Here is where the popular Big Stump can be seen. This massive stump that reaches a whopping diameter of 52 feet, once held an enormous sequoia tree nicknamed "Mark Twain", after the actual writer Mark Twain visited the stump and instantly became fascinated with the gigantic size and was inspired in writing about it.
The falling of the Mark Twain treePhoto byAmerican Museum of Natural History

As word got around about these massive trees of the west (California) during the late 1800's, many simply did not believe the stories that where circulating around the United States. Even for those who chose to make the travel across the States in order to see for themselves the extraordinary Sequoia National Park, the travel was simply too difficult to do at the time. Today in order to travel to the spot where the Big Stump is, it takes a hike of at least 2 miles long (about an hour hike). 1891, it was decided to "sacrifice" the massive tree and cut it down. The reason for this was to display segments of the Mark Twain tree in museums, such as the American Museum of Natural History located in New York and the Natural History Museum located in London.
Picture of lumbermen chopping down the great Mark TwainPhoto byCharles C. Curtis

It took four lumbermen, Bill Mills and S.D. Phips, a man named Barney and John Lukey, and 13 days to cut down the tree due to how thick it was. It was common for nearby mills to take weeks in trying to cut down these enormous sequoia trees, mostly because the tools used where elongated flimsy hand saws.

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