Our Land and Country—1892

It is safe to say that none of the natural wonders with which California abounds have been the objects of more surprise, mingled with admiration, than her gigantic trees. They are the oldest and most stupendous vegetable products existing upon the globe, and though commonly known as redwoods, are named by botanists sequoias; and a large number of groves of such trees are found in different parts of California—the counties of Calaveras, Humboldt, Mariposa, in particular. In a single group, two hundred have been found more than twelve feet in diameter, fifty more than sixteen feet, and six more than thirty feet,—one of the largest, now lying upon the ground, leafless and branchless, is believed to have fallen some two hundred years ago, and, though fire has consumed much of the trunk, enough remains to show that, with the bark on, it must have been forty feet in thickness. One of the largest standing trees is found to have bark of nearly two feet thickness, and, if the trunk were hollowed to a shell, it would hold more freight than a man-of-war, or a first-class steamer, two hundred and fifty feet long. An instance is also mentioned of one of these trees being cut down by boring with augers and sawing the spaces between, five men being employed on the work for twenty-five days. In the earlier years, or the 'fifties, of California, some of the most prodigious of these trees were felled by speculators, and conveyed to different parts of the world, for exhibition. One of these, called the Mother of the Forest, was stripped of its bark up to one hundred and sixteen feet, by five men working ninety days, the bark being removed in sections of eight feet, and these were then put in the precise position as when on the tree.

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