Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Oldest Famous Tree in Louisville?


In Sunday's Courier-Journal newspaper there was an article about the future of Stansbury Park and what the University of Louisville (U of L) would like to do with it. It was mentioned that in 2017 Churchill Park was leased to U of L for development of soccer fields and is thus not a park any more. Mention of Churchill Park triggered the memory of the October 23, 2023 blog post on Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston (1858-1946) and when in 1921 he and his brothers donated family properties that would become Ballard Square, Churchill Park, and George Rogers Clark Park. 

So I decided to visit George Rogers Clark Park on my lunch break at 1024 Thruston Drive in Louisville, Kentucky. The park is known for a 200+ year old bald cypress tree that legend has it was planted by George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) when he thrust his riding crop into the ground and cypress tree grew from it.

Bald cypress or Taxodium distichum trees can live to be thousands of years old. The tree at the park is surrounded by a metal fence with a sign telling its story. It grows next to a small creek at the bottom of a wooded slope. The trunk is quite quite wide maybe over 2 meters or 6 feet in diameter.

Park has a Commonwealth of Kentucky sign reading "Mulberry Hill Home of John and Ann Clark and their family, which included sons George Rogers and William Clark. Clarks built house ca. 1785 and family live here until 1860s. Remains of house and outbuildings razed in 1917 for WW I facility Camp Zachary Taylor. Family cemetery remains with graves of John and Ann Clark and other family members."