The Old Sycamore Tree was a Greene County giant.
The Sycamore was the largest known broadleaf, non-nut bearing tree in North
America. It grew in the White River Bottoms about one-half mile east
of Worthington. The old tree was rooted in Highland Township on the
Sloan-Dixon farm and remained there until 1925.
In its day the
tree was said to be the most divine place. The shady tree was a
popular place for picnics and hikes. The tree was hollow so people
could even have picnics inside the trunk. The hollowness and
deterioration of the tree were due to elements, initials carved by man, and
woodpeckers. The tree was also a popular place for young lovers to go.
A horse and buggy could easily be hidden behind its large trunk. Like
all great things, the tree had to have an end, and its end came in a
A 1925 Hoosier
storm destroyed most of the rotted tree, which was easy prey for strong
winds. The small portion of the tree that remained standing was cut
down in 1925 by Wallace Short, who was considered to be a noble man in
stature. In fact, he became a legend as he cut down and removed the
magnificent tree with only man power and simple tools.
To remove a tree
the size of the Old Sycamore using modern-day equipment would be a
challenge, yet Short managed to cut and move the tree by using group
manpower. The west limb, which was the smaller branch of the tree, was
loaded on his personal pick-up truck and hauled to Worthington Park, where
it is still on display to the public.
The sign erected
in front of the limb at the park gives information about the size and age of
the tree near the time it was destroyed by the storm:
In 1915 the
age of the tree was estimated to be 500 years old. The wood's height
was 150 feet. The wood's spread was 100 feet. The wood's
circumference at 1 foot above ground was 45 feet 3 inches and at 5 feet
above ground 42 feet 3 inches. The east branch was 27 feet 8 inches,
while the west branch was 23 feet 3 inches.
of the tree was too decayed to be moved. Many people rushed to get a
piece of the Big Sycamore Tree. People used lumber from the
magnificent tree to make tables and meat cutting blocks. Some people
just left the wood in its natural form.