“Drive-thru” sequoia brought down by storm California State Parks Supervising Ranger Tony Tealdi pauses by the roots of the fallen Pioneer Cabin Tree at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Arnold, Calif. Famous for a "drive-thru" hole carved into its trunk, the giant sequoia was toppled over by a massive storm. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli/Michael Brown via AP)
“Drive-thru” sequoia brought down by storm
Lexile

Fans are mourning a giant sequoia in California that's famous for a "drive-thru" hole carved into its trunk. A massive storm toppled the mighty tree.
 
The tree shattered when it went down Jan. 8, Calaveras Big Trees State Park volunteer Jim Allday said.
 
"It was majestic," he said. "Now it's basically a pile of rubble."
 
A tunnel was carved into the tree's trunk in the 1880s to allow tourists to pass through.  It weakened the giant. The tunnel had allowed cars to pass. But only pedestrians could cross in recent decades.
 
Generations of locals and tourists have visited the tree. They posed for photos and carved their names into it. After it fell, many took to social media, posting their memories of the tree.
 
"It's kind of like someone in the family has died," said Joyce Brown. She is a 65-year-old retired middle school teacher who has been visiting the tree since she was 12 and owns a cabin in nearby Arnold.
 
Brown said four generations of her family spent numerous hours at the tree and often took out-of-town visitors there. Some of those visitors came from as far away as Turkey.
 
"Everyone who went there was shocked at how big a tree could be," she said. "As a child you think you had come to a land of giants, that there must be giant people and giant animals living there because of the diameter of these trees."
 
Sumner Crawford remembers every detail of his first visit to the tree as a kid in the 1990s.
 
"I remember I was walking through the tree and thinking, 'I'm inside of the tree right now!'" he said. "It was madness."
 
He was stunned by the sequoia's size. When his family of four tried to join hands around the tree they discovered they couldn't even come close.
 
"It was so different and so odd," said Crawford. He grew up on a farm in Virginia and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina. He recently visited the tree again, reliving those memories.
 
"I feel like it's part of my personal history. So it's a bummer to see it go," he said.
 
John Ripper, a 55-year-old printer in Northville, Michigan, said he and his wife visited the tree in May 2015.
 
"I was blown away," Ripper said. "I've traveled to 70 countries. But that particular tree and being able to walk underneath it and touch it was quite a memorable moment and something I won't soon forget."
 
Ripper said he can't believe such a massive and sturdy-looking tree was felled by a storm.
 
"In the blink of an eye, it's gone," he said. "There's this giant tree everyone remembers, and it's going to be laying there in plain sight. The dead giant."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How could a car fit through a tree?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (165)
  • grantl-bur
    1/17/2017 - 01:19 p.m.

    I believe that a car could fit through a tree because some tree cutters have changed the tree so that there Is a tunnel for people to go through which I personally think is very cool for tourists. They could were able to make a tunnel (modify) it because the tree was recently taken down by a storm. In the text, it says,"A tunnel was carved in the tree's trunk". The text also says,"A massive storm toppled over the tree".

  • brassfieldm-bur
    1/17/2017 - 06:20 p.m.

    They carved a hole in the giant tree so we could drive thru it. It is like a underpass I go thru to get to the dentist.

  • nidhit-jon
    1/18/2017 - 08:02 a.m.

    The car could fit through the tree because they probably took the biggest car and the cut the hole.

    • danielr-hei
      2/03/2017 - 01:29 p.m.

      They would carve through until the car is able to get through.

      • brycend-hei
        2/03/2017 - 03:34 p.m.

        What would they carve a hole in to and what tool did they use?

    • gabrielp-hei
      2/03/2017 - 01:35 p.m.

      I think that they measured a car and then measured the tree to see how big the hole was going to be for the cars.

      • aaliyahv-hei
        2/03/2017 - 03:37 p.m.

        I agree with you i think that they measured a car and used the car to make a hole so that cars could pass through.

      • abrahamm-hei
        2/03/2017 - 03:41 p.m.

        I agree with you, because if they didn't measure, the hole would be too big or too small for a car to fit in.

    • brycend-hei
      2/03/2017 - 03:36 p.m.

      What do you mean by the biggest car also how did they cut the hole in the tree?

  • anibelm-pel
    1/18/2017 - 09:02 a.m.

    They make space for a car to be able to fit and the tree is big enough to make it fit.

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