Arnold in Calaveras County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
California Big Trees State Park
The Discovery Stump
— The Calaveras North Grove —
The stump and remaining log became a tourist attraction. The stump was used as a dance floor, and later was the foundation for a pavilion. A bowling alley and bar were constructed on top of the log.
The stump continues to be an attraction to thousands of park visitors annually. It is a testament to the longevity of these redwood trees that the stump and log are still here after more than 150 years.
Erected by California State Parks.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Horticulture & Forestry Historic Trees series list.
Location. 38° 16.651′ N, 120° 18.503′ W. Marker is in Arnold, California, in Calaveras County. Marker can be reached from Big Trees Parkway near Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway (California Highway 4). Marker and stump are located on the Calaveras North Grove Trail. Park at the Visitor Center and get a North Grove Trail Brochure. This is a fee-use state park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1170 East Highway 4, Arnold CA 95223, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Discovery and Exploitation (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hanging On By A Branch (approx. 0.3 miles away); White Pines History (approx. 1.9 miles away); Doc S.C. Linebaugh Park (approx. 2 miles away); Dorrington Hotel (approx. 2.3 miles away); Board's Crossing (approx. 4.4 miles away); Sourgrass Bridge (approx. 5.8 miles away); Avery Hotel (approx. 6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arnold.
Regarding California Big Trees State Park. There are 27 stops on the gentle 1.5 mile long Calaveras North Grove Trail of which The Discovery Stump is the first. Each stop points out specific Sequoias, additional tree species found in this forest, plants and animals,
Also see . . .
1. Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the "Discovery Tree", the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California. (Submitted on August 6, 2010.)
2. How Big are Big Trees?. The largest redwood in Calaveras Big Trees State Park is the Louis Agassiz tree. It is located in the South Grove. This tree is "only" 250 feet tall, but it is over 25 feet in diameter six feet above the ground! The largest tree in the North Grove is probably the Empire State Tree, which is 18 feet in diameter six feet above the ground. The largest tree in the world is the General Grant tree, located in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park It stands 271 feet tall and is 28 feet in diameter at six feet above the ground. (Submitted on August 6, 2010.)
1. The Big Stump
From the Calaveras North Grove Trail Brochure:
In the spring of 1852, a backwoods hunter named Augustus T. Dowd was chasing a wounded grizzly bear in an unfamiliar forest. Suddenly he was stopped in his tracks by an unbelievable sight - a tree of monstrous proportions that was easily three times larger than any he had ever seen. Dowd spent the rest of the day exploring the area before returning to his campsite in the hills above Murphy's gold mining camp. Dowd was a colorful character, and his story of the big tree was initially met with skepticism. He finally coaxed a group of men to make the 20-mile trip into the mountains to see the tree for themselves.
Almost immediately, visitors began traveling up the rough trail to what became known as the Calaveras Grove. Word of the "Giant Trees" soon spread throughout the world.
In 1853, the year after Dowd's discovery, the tree was stripped of its bark and felled by ambitious speculators. Since no saw was large enough, the tree was felled with other tools of that era - long-handled pump augers and wedges. It took five men 22 days to drill all the holes, but the perfectly symmetrical tree did not fall for several days.
The stump was planed smooth to serve as a dance floor, and a two-lane bowling alley and bar were built on the fallen trunk.
Many were angered by the destruction of this tree, including Dowd.
"The vandals then danced upon the stump!"
— Submitted August 6, 2010.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 6, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 3,462 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 6, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 5. submitted on August 10, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 6. submitted on August 31, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 7. submitted on August 9, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 8. submitted on August 10, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 9, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 13. submitted on August 10, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 14. submitted on August 9, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 15. submitted on August 10, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.