There’s a big tree growing in the Missouri River bottom near our hometown of Columbia, that everyone just refers to as “The Big Tree.”

It’s a burr oak tree, and yeah, it’s really big. It’s trunk is 287 inches around, it’s 90 feet tall, and it has a limb span of 130 feet, which makes it the largest burr oak in Missouri. It’s a landmark around here. It’s big, and majestic, and very photogenic. Everyone knows where the big tree is, everyone has been there, and everyone loves it.

It’s estimated to be at least 350 years old, which means it was a little acorn sprout sometime around 1650. Goodness, this tree has seen a lot. It was there when Lewis and Clark passed by on their expedition to the west. It’s been struck by lightning, and stood tall through floods that rose all the way up to its lowest branches. Last summer’s drought was a stressful time for our big tree. It’s leaves started to wilt, and it started to show signs that it might not make it through. So what do you do when your favorite big tree starts fading away? You water it, and water it, and water it some more.

Earlier this week on the NPR show All Things Considered, they told the story of how the tree’s caretaker and the local community came together to save our iconic tree. It’s a good story. You can listen to it right here.

And, if you ever come to visit and want to see the big tree in person, let us know. We’ll tell you how to get there.

:: Carrie ::