GREENSBORO, N.C. – The sound of chainsaws welcomed children from First Baptist Preschool into a backyard in Greensboro Friday morning.
A furniture maker, a wood sculptor and bee keepers were on hand to show the kids what can be reclaimed from a fallen tree.
“We talked about the rings on the tree, that show the age, one year for every ring. They learned about the importance of bees, taking care of all our food. And all the things we can make the wood into. The tables and the chairs and the bees gave us the honey, which sweetens things and we love that,” said Ann Teague, a teacher at the preschool.
But the star of the show wasn’t the people around the tree.
“I just felt like it was another great big tree during the process of taking it down,” said Sam Bridges of Bridges Tree and Detail, Inc.
The real star of the show, is the tree itself.
“We estimate that the tree is somewhere in the neighborhood of 170 to 200 years old,” Bridges said.
Back in December, a large limb fell from the tree.
When Bridges came to inspect the tree, he found a large cavity inside and determined they had to cut the tree down.
"We went on to take the tree down,” he said.
That is when the tree revealed its biggest surprise.
“And it measured 256 inches in circumference, and the largest tree that they have on data in the United States of America is 222 inches in circumference,” Bridges said.
Unofficially, it is the thickest red oak tree ever recorded in the United States. Bridges is in the process of working to get the measurement verified.
Bridges, whose son goes to First Baptist Preschool, said it was important for his son’s classmates to experience seeing the tree.
“It was one of the oldest and largest trees ever in history, and I thought that was a real plus for them to be able to remember that,” he said.
And while the tree is no longer standing, the community will work to keep it alive.
They plan to give all the wood from it away, free of charge. If you would like a piece of the historic tree, you can contact Bridges Tree and Detail, Inc. at (336)274-9427.