Welcome

Big Stump circa 1920
Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Cottages, Waldport

For more than 100 years, Oregonians have speculated about the origin of an upright redwood tree stump protruding on the beach in the surf-zone south of Waldport. Its’ photo appeared in an Oregon newspaper in July of 1912, and about the same time on a postcard with the caption, “Monstrous Redwood Stump 100 Years Old.”  And according to coastal Native Americans, it existed long before the coming of the white settlers. Some Waldport residents suspected an ancient redwood forest might have grown there before the present beach was formed.  Others thought it had drifted north from California, and somehow got planted in a vertical position.

Most redwoods today are confined in a narrow strip, four-hundred-fifty miles long mostly in California.  Hence the species of giant coastal redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, is commonly called California redwood, although a few groves extend about fifteen miles into Southern Oregon.  But none are located north of Brookings. The mystery of how this tree came to be on the central Oregon coast has many folks stumped.

Big Stump
January, 2008

Just how old is it? How did it come to be here? Could it have grown this far beyond its present range?  If it was part of an ancient forest, where are the remains of the forest? If it is driftwood, how did it come to be in an upright position? And how has it been preserved for hundreds of years, pounded by ocean waves and winter storms? Most importantly, does it tell us something about the changing Oregon shoreline? If it grew in its present location, has there been massive environmental or climatic change?The mystery is ongoing; it has not been solved.

But the stories this old stump has to tell are more than I could have imagined when I began investigating fifteen years ago. Please enjoy this website as the investigation of Oregon’s orphan redwood continues!

— Mike Anderson

 

Mike Anderson is a writer and film maker living in Eugene, Oregon.    He can be  reached at Mike@big-stump.com