Historic Glade tree still majestic after 150 years
By JIM ARBER
For The Vista
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
-— Joyce Kilmer
Ah… Joyce, what a beautiful way to put it. They are just that and we live right among em, mostly we take them for granted.
But not all.
Just like some people stand out from the crowd, some hills stand out, some lakes stand alone in their beauty, we have a tree right here in Fairfield Glade like that.
Over 150 years old it seems a privilege just to walk under those massive old branches. Branches that kids played under for decades. A place where parties and weddings were held, where farmers brought their hogs to kill and hang on those big branches at Thanksgiving, good times, bad times, a place where lots of prayers were offered up. Standing under that wonderful old tree you just might become a tree hugger yourself.
This tree was planted by one of the young Center boys way back in 1864. The Center family moved here from Virginia around 1859.
As the story goes, one day one of the Center kids was driving a mule or two across Daddy’s Creek and they were given him a hard time.
So Tom or maybe Hugh pulled up little Sycamore sapling and switched em on home. Once home its reported that he either stuck that sapling in the ground near the family well and it grew, or he actually planted the thing. Whatever, most agree that it was in 1864 and it grew and grew and grew.
Now Sycamore’s do like water and most of them don’t attain any great size unless they happen to be by a creek, river or some body of water.
So, you’d not expect this Sycamore to make it anywhere near this long but it had that nearby well and water supply to feed it so here it is, still growing over 150 years later. It is now 94 feet tall, the trunk is over 16 feet in diameter and has a crown spread of over 165 feet.
Folks, it is the second largest Sycamore in the state.
Last October 5, at the Forestry Council meeting in Nashville, this tree was officially entered in the Tennessee Landmark and Historic Tree Registry by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
There will be a further ceremony for this grand old tree in a few days at the base of the tree itself located in front of the Wildwood stable at Dorchester in Fairfield Glade.
We’ll post the date as soon as it’s available.
Local and state dignitaries will be on hand as well as descendants of the original Center and Capps family who have lived on this land since 1859.
The public is welcome at this ceremony and are encouraged to come celebrate this landmark tree. It is still healthy, still growing and gets more beautiful every day.