Heritage Trees 2008

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Cottonwood at Big Springs
Owned by Phelps Hotel Association
Nominated by Lester Becker

This cottonwood graces Big Springs’ main street near the Phelps Hotel. Mr. Phelps, a Union Pacific employee, built the hotel in 1885 so workers would have a place to stay while in Big Springs. Over the years many railroad engineers stayed overnight at the hotel while traveling through the area. In later years the hotel was both a cafe and bed-and-breakfast. It is listed on Nebraska’s National Register of Historic Places. Planted in 1887, this cottonwood has been a sentinel to the many changes of Big Springs.

Arbor Day Tree at Central City
Owned by Central City Public Schools
Nominated by Marilyn Heins

This bur oak was given to the City of Central City in 1999 in honor of the 125th anniversary of Arbor Day. The tree was presented to the city by the Arbor Day Foundation at the annual Tree City USA ceremony in Lincoln. It was planted at Central City’s elementary school by that year’s fourth-grade class as part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration. It will be a continual reminder of the value of planting trees in our state.

Meridian Highway Redcedars
Owned by Robert & Sandy Hoffmann
Nominated by Gary Zimmer

The Meridian Highway Redcedars stand along the Meridian Highway, the first north-south automobile route between Canada and Mexico. The four-mile-long stretch where the trees stand is thought to be the best preserved portion of the highway. The highway ran adjacent to the farm Caspar and Johanna Hoffmann homesteaded in 1871. The Hoffmanns planted the trees about the time of the highway’s opening in 1911. The farm has been in the Hoffmann family for five generations.

The Oldest Living Cottonwood in Wausa
Owned and Nominated by Fred Frank

This cottonwood was probably planted in the late 1800s. It's more than six feet in diameter and has been the backdrop for family pictures and gatherings. The property where it stands has been in the same family for nearly 100 years. It is thought to be the oldest living tree in Wausa.

Johnny Carson Tree
Owned by Historic Properties, Inc.
Nominated by Gary Zimmer

This large 80-year-old silver maple stands in the front yard of Johnny Carson’s boyhood home. Johnny undoubtedly walked in this tree’s shade each time he left the house via the front door. Johnny’s family moved to Norfolk when he was 8 years old, and he graduated from high school there in 1943. He always referred to Norfolk as his hometown.