Monday, September 08, 2008

Post Office Oak - Update - Santa Fe Trail

Press release of great interest in the Kansas Flint Hills:

The Post Office Oak stump on the Santa Fe Trail in Council Grove, Kansas, a National Historic Landmark, is to be cut down on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 9 am, because it is rotten in the center and in danger of falling. This is one of the most historic trees in Council Grove. The stump is 20 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter. The Post Office Oak, about 270 years old when it died in 1999, had a cache (hole) near the base where travelers going west or east on the Santa Fe Trail left messages for other travelers. This was a common practice for 20 years. The messages might be about water, dangers or opportunities.
One of the earliest settlers in the grove of trees, later named Council Grove, was Frances Xavier Hebrank, a German immigrant who built his home with his brewing business in the cellar a few feet from the oak. Business was brisk and the cache in the tree handy. Hebrank's daughter lived in the home after her father died and added a wooden front porch. The porch was later removed and a cement and stone porch put onto the side of the house. The Post Office Oak is in the southwest corner where the steps come down from the porch.
Almost by accident the rotten condition was discovered when weeding and trimming nearby plants. What at first appeared to be a small area, when rotten wood was taken out, was a cavity large enough to put one's arm into up to the elbow. The Kansas Forestry department was contacted and arborist Kim Bomberger of Dwight, KS examined the tree. She confirmed the rotten interior and sounded the need for care because it is in grave danger of falling. It is leaning against the bottom stone hand railing of the steps with two thirds above the post. Others who work with trees either as vocation or hobby have looked at the stump and offered suggestions.
At an open community meeting, it was decided that the stump should be cut before it falls, the wood treated with a preservative, and placed at or near its present site with protection such as a roof over it. Special equipment will be used to lift sections off the tree.
Preservation of the pieces of the stump will be expensive. No decision has been made about how much of the stump can be treated until it is cut and examined but the Morris County Historical Society is aware that this historic tree warrants the best efforts that can be mustered.
Submitted by:
TinaRae (TR) Scott
Executive Director
Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism
620.767.5413
" Thank you for your interest in Council Grove, Morris County, and the Flint Hills!"

See you in the Kansas Flint Hills! ;-)

2 comments:

roselina said...

One of the earliest settlers in the grove of trees, later named Council Grove, was Frances Xavier Hebrank, a German immigrant who built his home with his brewing business in the cellar a few feet from the oak. Business was brisk and the cache in the tree handy. Hebrank's daughter lived in the home after her father died and added a wooden front porch. The porch was later removed and a cement and stone porch put onto the side of the house.No decision has been made about how much of the stump can be treated until it is cut and examined but the Morris County Historical Society.
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Roselina

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Julie said...

Post Office Oak - Update - Santa Fe Trail

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Julie
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