Heritage Trees 2007

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The 4-H Tree at Atlanta Memorial Park
Owned by the City of Atlanta
Nominated by JoAnne Escritt

In 1950, JoAnne Escritt planted this Jack pine in Atlanta's city park. Joanne received it for winning first place in the 4-H Tree & Shrub Identification Contest at that year's state fair. Her hometown's city park, which was originally started by the boys 4-H club of Atlanta, was the proper place for this tree. Nearly 60 years later, it has grown into a beautiful pine for all to enjoy.

The Oaks at Oak Canyon at Trenton
Owned by Roger & Pat Lewis
Nominated by Bruce Hoffman

The native oaks in Oak Canyon date back 200 to 300 years. In fact, some artifacts located at the site have been dated 5,000 years. A stone plaque marks the canyon that also saw significant Native American activity during pioneer times.

The Caroline Morton Oak at Nebraska City
Owned by Wyuka Cemetery
Nominated by Robert Smith

This stately bur oak was planted by J. Sterling Morton after the death of his wife, Caroline, in 1881. It graces Nebraska City's Wyuka Cemetery and stands nearly 65 feet tall with a circumference of 16 feet. It serves as a remembrance of our state's great tree-planting family.

The Unadilla Easter Egg Tree
Owned by the Village of Unadilla
Nominated by Dan Fentiman

This mulberry is a community landmark. For four generations it has been the site of Easter egg hunts in Unadilla. It also was part of the community's Nebraska Centennial Celebration. Numerous weddings and anniversary parties have been held under its canopy. This tree probably occurred naturally as part of a pasture that later became a city park. 

The Trees at the Farmers Valley Cemetery at Stockham
Owned by the Farmers Valley Cemetery Association
Nominated by Marilyn Heins

The Grand Island Independent once wrote that, “The trees in Farmers Valley Cemetery near Stockham are so old and so tall they practically reach heaven.” This historic cemetery is the final resting place of many, including Civil War veterans; settlers, some infants and children, who died of diseases; settlers who died in battles with Native Americans; and a mother and son who died in the Easter blizzard of 1873. A prominent state senator, Perry Reed, also was laid to rest under the stately trees. His grave includes a bench made from pillars of the first State Capitol. It's thought that several of these trees were brought by wagon from Wyoming and planted in their current location in the 1880s.

The G Trees of Hayes Center
Owned by Melva Gohl
Nominated by Karmajo Hill

The Gohl family has farmed in the Hayes Center area for more than 100 years. In 1983, the family decided to plant 2,366 trees in a triangle with a 'G' in the middle. Through the years the family has taken the time to maintain and care for the trees. The resulting 'G' has become a significant landmark for the airlines and military when they're flying over the Hayes Center area.

The Prairie States Shelterbelt at McCook
Owned by  A M Bishop Trust
Nominated by Bruce Hoffman

On April 5, 1935, the first shelterbelt of the Prairie States Forestry Program was planted on the Bishop farm. By April 12, 1935, five shelterbelts, which included 28,000 trees, were completed in Red Willow County. The McCook site was chosen by the President as a favor to Senator Norris. These shelterbelts marked the beginning of efforts to combat drought and wind erosion in Nebraska during the “Dirty '30s.”

The Narrows Bur Oak at Oak
Owned by Earl Werner
Nominated by Eugene Werner

This bur oak saw significant activity from its location along the Oregon Trail, as well as countless changes of lifestyles. The Narrows Bur Oak is located 150 feet from the site where four settlers were captured near the Narrows of the Oregon Trail in 1864. Because traditional Native American hunting grounds were possessed by settlers and soldiers, the Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapahoe tribes carried out attacks along the Oregon Trail. In one attack, Mrs. Eubanks, two of her children and Laura Roper, a visiting neighbor, were captured. After council with tribal representatives, Laura and one child were released at Fort Lyons, Colorado. In 1919, Laura Roper Vance returned to the Narrows to verify the place of her capture. This bur oak has seen not only this event, but the movement of Native Americans and settlers along the Oregon Trail and an enormous change in how people live along the Platte.  

The Rennecker Oak at Beaver City
Owned by Darrell Brown
Nominated by Dee Lamb

Herman Rennecker's wife, Caroline, was not pleased when they moved from Illinois to the treeless plains of Nebraska in 1895. Herman compromised by allowing Caroline to bring 10 oak saplings that she planted on each parcel of land Herman purchased. After 112 years, only one oak remains, a knarled sentinel standing firm. No Rennecker’s live on this land now, but the oak remains proof of their presence in this county.