Trees get planted all the time. Apparently, nature does not do the job adequately. Trees get put into specific locations to provide shade, produce fruit, enhance a landscape, obscure a view, or for any of a vast number of reasons. It is amazing that they are as accommodating as they are. It is rather presumptuous for us to think that they actually want to live with us in our synthetic environments as much as we want to live with them.
The coastal redwood is the tallest tree in the world. It can live for thousands of years. An individual tree can produce enough lumber to build a small house. It is no wonder that they are so impressive to anyone who sees one for the first time.
Many towns within the natural range of the coastal redwood were established for the redwood lumber industry. Felton, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, is one of those towns. George Featherstone of Ottawa came to Felton in 1888, and was so impressed with the coastal redwood trees, that he planted one in the middle of town only a few years after his arrival. This tree was only a teenager when redwood harvesting increased to supply lumber to rebuild San Francisco after the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, and then to develop the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area.
More than a century later, the Featherstone Tree is still here, and is the biggest thing in the small downtown. The Community Deck was built around it by volunteers from the Community many years ago. It is not as tall as trees in the forest are, but only because it does not need to compete with them. It is shorter and stouter, and really seems to enjoy being the center of town. It is quite the celebrity.
Mr. Featherstone had no idea of how important the tree he planted would become. It would be nice if we all could do such nice things for our communities, but then the world would be much too shady.
(‘ninties’ means the 1890s.) This Redwood Tree was planted in the early ninties by one of Felton’s early settlers, George Featherstone, a man who knew the wonder and beauty of these trees. Born in Ottawa, Canada in 1872, he came to the San Lorenzo Valley on March 17, 1888. He died on September 27, 1947.