Calhoun County’s Most Incredible Trees
I was flipping through the channels and landed on one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption.” It was the scene where Red finally gets out of prison, and keeps his promise to Andy to find the old White Oak tree. It was an incredible tree and a powerful scene. I looked it up. I'm sad to report that the tree is gone. After centuries of standing guard over that Ohio field, a couple of storms wiped it out a few years ago. All that’s left are some souvenirs make from the wood.
It got me thinking about how I take these majestic trees for granted. They’re like that important memo the boss put on the bulletin board. After a while, they become invisible.
So I went for a long drive, and I saw these amazing trees. Hundreds of them. And I even found some right here in our back yard that are just as special as that one from the movie.
So where’s your favorite tree? Is it still standing? Share a picture, if you have one. And check out the photos below. Click through each photo gallery.
#1. The White Oak at Irving Park in Battle Creek. In 1934, the Battle Creek Garden Club took a biopsy and determined that the tree sprouted around 1547. It’s nearly 500 years old!
Irving Park White Oak-TSM Photo
#2 The massive oak at Newbre Cemetery, B Drive North and 9 Mile Road. One special thing about his tree is its beautiful shape, and the fact that it stands alone among the headstones. The backdrop is a cornfield.
Newbre Cemetary-TSM Photo
#3 The oak at Post Gardens, 3055 West Michigan Avenue in Level Park. I found a photo at Willard Library of the tree, probably 100 years ago. It looks about the same.
#4 A very hefty oak by the side of the road at 22900 12 Mile Road near Bellevue. This one has a massive girth, and could also be 500 years old. It could use a little help. The poison ivy vines are starting to suck the life out of her, and she has to compete with other trees growing up through her massive limbs.
22900 12 Mile, Bellevue-TSM Photo
#5. There’s a nice oak at the corner of S Dr N and 13 mile road that might not be as big or old as some, but its representative of the hundreds of venerable oaken sentries that you can see along hundreds of Calhoun County roads.
S Dr. N at 13 Mile Rd-TSM Photo
#6. This one's on D Dr N just West of Marshall.
C Dr. N West of Marshall TSM Photo
There are a couple of places that have some pretty awesome stands of old oak trees. One is the Village of Augusta Cemetery, atop the hill north of Augusta. There are many stately old oaks among the tombstones there.
August Cemetary-TSM Photo
And one other favorite spot of mine is the old Kalamazoo County Poor Farm, now known as River Oaks Park, off M-96 between Galesburg and Comstock. There’s a beautiful stand of oaks back where the farm used to be.
River Oaks Park-West of Galesburg-TSM Photo
Where are your favorite trees? Share some pictures with us on Facebook, or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll take some calls on the WBCK Monday Morning Show on 9/23 to talk trees.
Here's a video of the Shawshank tree just before and after a storm took it down.