Heritage Trees 2005

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Location: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Park
Owner: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Cody Ranch New
Cody Ranch Old ImageIn 1886, Buffalo Bill Cody began to plan a "show place that would be the talk of the country."  This ranch, located on the Platte River Valley, was a treeless region.  In fact, the town of North Platte had few trees.  So as soon as the frost went out of the ground, cottonwood trees were set out.  By the fourth summer the rapid-growing cottonwoods were casting enough shade for picnics and other parties.  The trees still grace Scouts Rest Ranch were the Wild West Shows were held. Buffalo Bill Cody was a Champion Buffalo Hunter, Chief of Scouts, American Scout and Showman, pony express rider and a member of the Nebraska National Guard, but most of all he had the foresight to plant trees.

Location: Central City
Owner:Merrick County

Clara Barton Tree
Clara Barton Tree PlaqueA stately hackberry tree stands on the south lawn of the Merrick County County Courthouse. This tree was planted on April 12, 1923, the anniversary of the death of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. The National Women's Relief Corp designated this day to be observed by the planting of trees across the United States in the memory of Barton. On April 24, 1928, a memorial plaque was placed next to the tree by the Relief Corps so all would know why this tree was planted.

Location: Florence area north of the Mormon Bridge
Owner:City of Omaha

HI TreeNebraska and Omaha are so friendly that even nature says "Hi" with these cottonwoods. They just happen to grow in the shape of the letters H and I. The cottonwoods are located in the Historic Florence area of Omaha which had its roots in the Winter Quarters settlement of 1846. The "Hi Tree" grows along the Back-to-the-River Hiking and Biking Trail and is a natural oddity that is known throughout the Midwest.

Merrick County
Owner: n/a

Lone Tree
Lone Tree"Lone Tree", a giant, solitary cottonwood, was a noted Platte River landmark as early as 1833. Standing on the north side of the Platte River, the tree was visible at great distances. It was especially prominent since timber was rare on the Nebraska prairies except in stream valleys, where it received protection from prairie fires. The Mormon Trail passed by Lone Tree as did the Omaha-Fort Kearney stage route. The tree also gave its name to a stage station and a town, later renamed Central City. Passing travelers often camped beneath Lone Tree and carved their initials on its trunk. This probably hastened its end, for the tree was dead by 1863. A severe storm in 1865 brought it to the earth. In 1911 residents of Merrick County erected a stone in the shape of a tree trunk and planted another cottonwood tree on the site once occupied by Lone Tree.

Location: Near Chadron, Nebraska
Owner: Mike Schuhmacher

1875 Allison Council TreeThe Council Tree is a cottonwood located 3.5 miles west of Chadron on Highway 20 on private property. In 1875 President Grant appointed the Allison Commission, chaired by Senator Allison of Iowa, to encourage all Sioux Indian chiefs and elders to attend a Council under the cottonwood tree on Chadron Creek for the purpose of relinquishing their rights to the Black Hills area. "Treaty Tree" has also been given as a name to this tree but, in fact, no treaty was ever agreed on. After several days of meetings between the commission and the Indians, the conference ended with all returning to their homes. This live cottonwood is 60 feet high with a circumference of 22 feet.

Location: Ft. Kearney State Historical Park
Owner: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Cottonwoods at Fort KearneyArmy engineer Lt. Daniel Woodbury selected the site for Fort Kearney in November 1847, and said the trees were one of the main reasons. "The trees are cottonwood, scrub elm, small willows, and a scattering of ash and a few cedars. The cottonwood is the only tree that grows in abundance." Large cottonwood trees delimit the perimeter of the parade ground itself. Many photos have been taken at different decades of the parade grounds with these stately cottonwoods.

Location: Bancroft, Nebraska
Owner: John G. Neihardt Foundation

Neihardt Flowering CrabThis crabapple tree is located in the center of the re-created Sacred Hoop Garden near the free-standing one-room study where John Neihardt wrote many of his earlier works and began his great epic poem, "A Cycle of the West." The garden recreates the image of the Sacred Hoop as related in Neihardt's most well-known work, "Black Elk Speaks," a book included on the list of the top 100 most influential works of the 20th century. Neihardt is the first Poet Laureate ever named by a state legislature.

Location: Fullerton, Nebraska
Owner: Doug and Darla Russell, Broken Arrow Wilderness

Bur Oaks at "The Leap"A 40-acre forest of bur oaks is located on a bluff that drops 283 feet overlooking the Cedar River. This bluff of oaks is best known as "The Leap" that was prominent in Indian lore. Stories abound of Indians using skillful hunting techniques by driving herds of buffalo off this cliff. Most striking is the story of a Pawnee chief and his sweetheart who supposedly leaped to their deaths from the bluff. This forest was the location of the first formal July 4th celebration in the state of Nebraska in 1844. The forest also is famous for three decades of spirited summer Chautauqua shows that began in 1897. The majestic bur oaks covering these grounds are one of the largest stands of natural bur oak trees in the United States, dating back over 400 years.

Location: Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City
Owner: National Arbor Day Foundation

Morton OakThe Morton Oak has graced grounds south of Arbor Day Farm Apple House for more than 200 years. Bur oaks, with their thick bark, were more resistant to prairie fire and as a result scattered pockets of bur oak managed to survive. These areas are referred to as "oak savannas." The Morton Oak was probably part of an old oak savanna ecosystem. On Arbor Day 2001, it was designated as Nebraska's Millennium Landmark Tree.

Location: Ash Hollow State Park
Owner: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Ash Hollow State ParkThis green ash tree is more than 100 years old and is nearly 60 feet tall. It's growing out of the rock ledge or wall that is 1/4 mile north of the old rock schoolhouse located at the end of the road through the south end of Ash Hollow Historical Park. The pioneers on the Oregon Trail toiled down Windlass Hill to be met with cool, natural spring water and shade from the ash trees in Ash Hollow. This spot was also a popular campsite for the Plains Indians.

Location: Central City
Owner: Merrick County

Grad Army of the Republic TreeOn April 24, 1928, the Women's Relief Corps planted an American Linden tree on the north lawn of the Merrick County Courthouse. They dedicated this tree to the Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War veterans). It was a "living monument of that brave band who so nobly fought that this nation might be preserved." A marker was placed close to the tree on April 13, 1950, to preserve its dedication.