Below is a list of the most famous sequoia trees which were cut to display the true massive aspect of the California Sequoia to the world. Some of the history of the many exhibited trees travels has been lost in the mists of time and many of the history's that i have heard conflict with one another as information and even the individual trees were sometimes confused. However, given that disclaimer, here in brief, is what i have heard of the details and movements of ones i am familiar with.
California Stump, Mountain Home Centennial Tree/Captain Jack Tree, Grant Grove Centennial Tree, Mountain Home Chicago Stump/General Noble Tree, Converse Basin Dead Giant, Grant Grove Discovery Stump, Calaveras North Forest King/Big Tree, Nelder German Tree, Mountain Home Japan Tree/Ram's Horn Stump, Mountain Home Los Angeles Tree, Mountain Home Mark Twain Tree/Stump, Big Stump Grove Mother of the Forest, Calaveras North Nero Tree/Stump, Mountain Home Swedish Tree, Mountain Home Worlds Fair Stump, Mountain Home
And another Unnamed Tree off Summit Road in Mountain Home which is currently giving up rounds for new exhibits. (above)
California Stump, Mountain Home: the California tree was one of 3 exhibition trees known to have been felled by John Mckiearnan. It was located a quarter mile south of the centennial stump and reported to be 76 feet in circumference at the base when it was felled. When it was cut down it was sent to Fraiser Mill and broken into 8 pieces for the exhibit. it was sent from there to Porterville where Mckiearnan sold it . It was supposed to be destined for New Orleans via Texas, however no information is known about its whereabouts or progress after that point.
Centennial Stump, Grant Grove: in the summer of 1875 the Captain Jack Tree in grant grove was felled by a logger Named Martin L Vivian for a centennial exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. This created the groves 22 foot in diameter centennial stump. The tree cuttings ended up in the side show tents for the centennial and the first worlds fair to be held in the united states; and was greeted as a hoax since it had to be cut into sections in order to be shipped, so the public did not believe that it was actually one tree. later on the remaining stump was used as a class room by teachers and school children from the area.
Centennial Tree, Mountain Home: the centennial stump is in the area east of Fraiser Mill and Hercules and was possibly once a contender for the very largest tree in the grove. In a venture to display the "biggest tree in the world" it was cut down in the late 1870's by John Mckiearnan and a couple partners. It was reported to be as large as 111 feet in circumference at the base, 26 foot diameter at the cut and about 200 feet tall. A ring count was done on the stump that showed it was 3000 years old. It was the first known effort by Mckiearnan to provide the world with an exhibition tree.
To cut it down a scaffolding was built around the tree 20 feet up its bole and the majority of it dropped, all but the lower two dozen feet. The fallen upper part was used to make fence posts; however the lower part was then hollowed out while still standing like a handle-less mug, and then the remaining outer staves were ripped vertically in 15 equal sections of 14 feet height, and identified so as to be reassemble-able later. This exhibition part of the tree was carted down the mountain to the local area of the foothills and then sent west to San Francisco to be shown to the public there. Mckiearnan and his local partners then sold it off to other promoters, unfortunately at a loss per the partners at the time.
The actual year of its cutting is not definitively known, and there is speculation as to whether it was named Centennial as a tree because it first appeared in 1876 on a map, or if it was intended to be used in one of the centennial celebrations which may or may not have happened.
Chicago Stump/General Noble Tree, Converse Basin: The General Noble Tree, named after the then secretary of the interior and former civil war general John Willock Noble was one of the largest in converse basin grove at slightly over 300 feet tall and with a base circumference of 81 feet. It was cut down in 1893 for a Chicago exhibition, the same year; thus was born the Chicago stump, an impressive one of 26 foot diameter. Before its felling the tree was 3200 years old as measured by ring count and reputedly it took 18 men with outstretched arms to fully encircle the tree. After the tree was cut it was reported to be 19.5 feet across at 50 feet from the ground, a very large tree.
To prepare it for exhibit the tree was first cut off at about 50 feet up and then uppermost 30 feet of the remaining standing section was hollowed and cut into two 14 foot exterior sections separated like barrel staves and one full cross section round of two foot thickness. It was then transported to Chicago for an exhibit for the World's Columbian Exhibition celebrating 400 years in the new world since its discovery by Columbus. The two 14 foot barrels were then re-assembled with the solid cross section between them and a set of stairs between to make a two floor tree house inside the rotunda of the government building during the fair. After the Chicago fair the exhibit was moved to the the mall of the Smithsonian in Washington DC, and given a roof with a window where it was used as a tool shed until 1932.
Dead Giant, Grant Grove; This tree was Girdled by the same speculator Mr Stegman that later cut down the Forest King in Nelder. He began by removing a complete circle of bark on the Dead Giant tree in Grant Grove, however public outcry on the fatal tree operation in the local news caused him to give up on this subject and move his attempts to the less well known and regulated Nelder grove for another victim. Unfortunately his attentions had already assured the trees untimely demise.
Discovery Stump, Calaveras North: This was the first of the exhibition trees. The tree was felled by its discoverer Agustus T. Dowd in order to convince a disbelieving world of the existence of the massive trees. The tree was felled using long pump auger drills primarily, and took 5 men 22 days to perforate all the way, repeatedly, approx 24 feet thru in a crisscross pattern both directions. Still it did not fall immediately, it was the wind that brought it down several days after their drilling stopped and not the lumberjacks wedges. The discovery tree at the time Dowd found it was 25 feet in diameter at the base and at least 280 feet tall, but only 1244 years old as measured from the stump rings.
The outer layer of the tree was sent off to exhibit in San Francisco, New York and then, Paris a year later where it was accidentally burned up and destroyed. The stump was smoothed off and used for functions; dances, weddings, and concerts. Eventually a roof and walls were placed over and around it, first of canvas and tree boughs, and then of proper wood construction, and it was made into a dance hall reported to be ample for 32 persons to dance within. The remainder of the tree was large enough to be equipped as a two lane 81 feet long bowling alley and bar in 1853. The bowling alley and bar fell in the winter of 1862/1863. In 1861 the original canvas top constructed over the stump was replaced with a wooden one which survived until 1934 when it was also caved in by the winter snow load. Now-days the construction has been removed from the tree's carcass and stump, however you can still see the drill grooves in the bottom of the tree trunk from its original felling. There are steps attached to the side of the stump so you can still mount it and pace the its length.
Forest King/Big Tree, Nelder: what was possibly once the largest tree in the grove of 79 feet in circumference named the "Big Tree" or "Forest King" was also selected for exhibition in 1870 by Stegman. The forest king was felled by the unique new method at the time of cutting off the roots on one side of the tree until it keeled over to the opposite side. A 15 foot long section of the base of it was then removed for exhibit first locally in Stockton, San Francisco, and then in Chicago in 1870; and then New York's Central Park, Boston and New York again in 1871. The base of the displayed stump section was touted as being 76 feet in circumference (24 feet dia) in the flyers. Interestingly, the Forest King's stump righted itself after the bole was cut off so seeing it afterwards you would never know its roots were sliced to fell it.
German Tree, Mountain Home Grove; this tree was a windfall in 1960. The fallen stump righted itself after the weight of the bole of the tree was removed. A cross section of the bole was sent to the University of Cologne, Germany in approx the early 1960's
Japan Tree/Ram's Horn Stump, Mountain Home: at the end of the road the Great Bonsai is on there is a turnaround loop about a fallen tree stump that was cut off at its base. This is the ram's horn stump. It is 20 feet across horizontally at the cut as it lies with no bark left on it. This fallen tree carcass was cut to provide a cross section piece for a museum in Japan, hence the roads name.
Los Angeles Tree, Mountain Home: the remains of the Los Angeles tree AKA the Doris Tree, which fell by itself in the winter of early 1960 still lie on the north part of mountain home near the road by Fraiser Mill campground. Its cut section was shown at the Los Angeles county fairgrounds.
Mark Twain Tree/Stump, Big Stump Grove: the famous Mark Twain tree felled in 1891, was reported to be "one of the most perfect trees in the grove". In the late 1800's the mark twain was nearly 300 feet tall and 91 feet circumference and 1341 years old, prior to its being cut for exhibition. It took two men thirteen days using axes and saws to bring it down and it was dropped into a feather bedding trench in an effort to keep it from shattering upon impact. (a trench filled with pine branches laid within it to hopefully cushion the impact of the bole and minimize its breakage) Once down, the lowest couple foot in a 16 foot diameter cross section was cut from it and divided into nearly a dozen pie shaped sections to be sent to the American museum of natural history in New York. The next section up was similarly cut and sent to the London museum of natural history for exhibition also.
Mother of the Forest, Calaveras North: in 1854 the biggest tree left in the north grove, the 2520 year old "Mother of the Forest" (a definite contender for the largest trees list as this tree was reportedly 31 feet diameter at the base or roughly 90 feet circumference and 327 feet tall) was destroyed for exhibition purposes by the removal of its bark. 3 Businessmen named George Gale, George Trask, and Willian Lapham had lumbermen strip the outer couple feet of bark from it in 8 foot high and 2-5 feet wide sections up to a height of 116 feet so it could be shipped to New York's crystal palace for an exhibit that opened on July 4th, 1855. Subsequently, it was shipped to the Crystal Palace in London and re-assembled for sightseer's there to view. It took the workmen 90 days to strip off all of the living bark from the lower section of the big tree, thus assuring its demise. This display was reportedly lost to fire along with the Crystal Palace on December 30 1866.
Nero Tree/Stump, Mountain Home: the Nero stump is located in the current Fraiser Mill campground. It used to be a hollow tree with a crawlspace sized opening into it and was named such because like Nero's character the tree had a "totally degraded heart and a regal exterior" in Floyd Otters words. It was cut down in 1903 by the infamous John Mckiearnan for an exposition in St. Louis to celebrate the Louisiana Purchase. Its remaining base is still to this day a hollow trunk. There is still the small opening low in the side thru which you can enter the stumps hollow interior. The tree, however, being hollow shattered so badly upon being felled that it was not usable and the effort proved a to be waste.
Swedish Tree Stump, Mountain Home: The 22-foot Swedish tree stump is found at the end of Swedish tree road, which is a very short dirt road that connects to the summit road where Oliver Twist Tree is located. There are several large trees in the vicinity very near the road and one that is burned about halfway thru, however is still alive. The road is named for the large stump inside the turnaround loop at the end of it. In the mid 1900s the Swedish Tree was naturally blown down and in 1952 from its carcass's lower sections a disc was cut off to send to Sweden to a museum at the request of Sweden's king Gustaf Adolf IV as a goodwill gesture from the united states. Another cross section of it was sent to the Fresno jr high school in 1959.
Worlds Fair Stump, Mountain Home: Another tree cut in 1892 presumably for the Worlds Columbian Exposition Fair by a Mr Van Doorman. Possibly this plan was derailed because the General Noble Tree/Chicago Stump was also destined for that fair and its inclusion was backed by government resources.