A Fallen Giant

It is with great sadness that we witnessed the loss of the London Grove Oak Tree this September. This magnificent tree was the Champion Pennsylvania White Oak Tree (Quercus Alba) as per the Longwood Gardens Champion Tree Program. Between 350 and 400 years old, this tree witnessed the history of our country from the arrival of William Penn in 1682 until the present time.

I am a member of The London Grove Friends Meeting on whose ground she stood. So many members of our community were married, memorialized, and simply awed by the splendor of her being. I can’t recount the number of times I took the 15-minute drive from Hearne Hardwoods from Oxford to London Grove to share the experience of being in the presence of this tree with people from all over the world. All of them marveled at the power of her spirit. On select summer days, we would hold our Meetings For Worship under her canopy.

Now it is incumbent on us to give her continued life, memorializing her by creating pieces out of her internal fibers. George Nakashima told me that he could give trees a second life by studying a board to learn what design it offered, every board had one ultimate purpose. He referred to this as “the Zen of woodworking”. The logs that can be turned into lumber are at Hearne Hardwoods and we will take great care to put them to their best advantage to inspire worthy woodworkers, artists, luthiers, and members of our community. This is a tremendous responsibility that we take extremely seriously. Now is the time to reveal the inner story of the life, times, and spirit of this wonder of nature.

Rick Hearne

This magnificent tree surely knew how to surprise us! The initial cuts were a real beauty, but then things got a little wild. The snapshots below showcase some of our unexpected discoveries – broken blades, an iron nail, and a massive concrete plug. Talk about a sawmill adventure! Who needs a boring day at work when you can have all these exciting twists and turns? This tree definitely gave us a run for our money, but we’re not complaining. After all, variety is the spice of life, isn’t it?

Below are some photos of the Great Oak fallen in place, the crane that transferred her, and our sawmill in action.

Hearne Hardwoods has been honored to participate in extending the life of this magnificent White Oak. There is an application process managed by a special board, not associated with Hearne Hardwoods. Please email LondonGroveOak@gmail.com for more information.

The second group of photos were our drone shots.

Hearne Hardwoods is so grateful for the opportunity to be part of something so meaningful. The historic White Oak was treasured by many and her memory will live on through the help of the community that loved her.