Monthly Archives: April 2016

Happy Arbor Day Wyoming! April 28th

First celebrated in 1872 in Nebraska, Arbor Day is an annual event that encourages the planting of trees all over the country. Wyoming has celebrated the event for 127 years, since the 1888 Territorial Legislature passed the law proclaiming that Arbor Day be observed by schools on the last Friday in April . Even before its official start, many citizens of Wyoming were interested in and encouraged the planting of trees on the treeless plains to beautify, block wind and encourage the productivity of the native soil. Read more about the early efforts in the Wyoming Newspaper Project.

In 1947, the State Legislature designated the Cottonwood as Wyoming’s official state tree. The specimen tree, thought to be the largest cottonwood in the world at the time, was located on the Clyde Cover ranch near Thermopolis. In 1941, the diameter of the tree’s truck measured 29 feet around at a point 4 ½ feet off the ground and was estimated to be about 60 feet tall. Unfortunately, this exceptional tree was lost to fire in 1955.

In 1961, it was discovered that the incorrect scientific name for the state tree was used in the 1947 bill, so the legislature amended the statute to read Populous saragentii rather than Populous balsamifera.

A new specimen tree was chosen in 1990, just in time for the state’s centennial. The new official tree was found through a contest sponsored by the Wyoming Chapter of the Society of American Foresters. The winner and largest tree nominated measured 31 feet in circumference, 64 feet tall and the average crown spread (how far the branches stick out) was just over 100 feet. The tree is located on the Flying X Ranch in Eastern Albany County. According to the story told in 1990 by Owen McGill, who had owned the ranch for many years, the tree had been planted around 1890 by Arthur Dover of England who had homesteaded at that spot in 1885. Dover had carefully tended the tree for many years and took great pride in his sapling, as did the McGills, who purchased the ranch in 1908.

Other historical trees of note in Wyoming:

– The “Wedding Tree”—This tree stood at the crossroads between Glendo and Esterbrook and was a convenient place to perform ceremonies, being halfway between these communities in Northern Albany and Southern Converse counties and Douglas, the closest courthouse.

– The Indian Sign Tree—This tree was found on the A.B. Fowler Ranch near Sunrise, Wyoming. In 1922, it was estimated to be about 400 years old and showed carvings of Indian signs, canoes, river boats and the dates 1854 and 1856. This tree was cut down in 1922 in order to preserve the carvings as the tree’s location was drowned by the reservoir. According to contemporary newspapers, the portion of the tree with the carvings was brought to the Platte County Library.

– The “Mystery Tree”—This Crook County tree, near the site of Welcome, Wyoming, was a giant pine tree that served as a marker for a group of hidden cabins purportedly used either by either the Hat Creek bandits or miners hiding from soldiers during the Black Hills Gold Rush. A scaffold had been built up the side of the tree and the tree was felled at this point, leaving a very tall stump some 3 feet in diameter.

– The Tree-in-the-Rock—Still one of the most memorable sites on I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, the pine tree grows out of a crack in a large granite boulder. Originally on the Union Pacific Railroad line, legend has it that the tree was watered and kept alive by train crews who watered the tree when they passed it going up the summit. The tree was a major landmark on the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, when it took the place of the tracks when they were moved farther south. Lincoln Highway became I-80.

– The National Capitol Christmas Tree—Found off of Pacific Creek in Bridger-Teton National Forest, the 65 foot tall conifer was selected and transported to Washington D.C. to serve as the official U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in 2010. This was the first tree of this distinction to come from Wyoming.

Gov. Mike Sullivan helping a student plant a tree on the front lawn of the Capitol Building while other students watch (Wyoming State Archives)

Gov. Mike Sullivan helping a student plant a tree on the front lawn of the Capitol Building while other students watch (Wyoming State Archives)

Tree-in-the-Rock on the Lincoln Highway between Cheyenne and Laramie, 1920s(Harrington Neg 128, Wyoming State Archives)

Tree-in-the-Rock on the Lincoln Highway between Cheyenne and Laramie, 1920s(Harrington Neg 128, Wyoming State Archives)

The CCC was a government run program designed to employ young men who were unable to find jobs during the Great Depression. The CCC planted millions of trees, built roads, trails and buildings in state and national parks. The Museum at Guernsey State Park is a wonderful example of CCC architecture. Two members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) preparing to plant a pine tree, 1930s (Sub Neg 514, Wyoming State Archives)

The CCC was a government run program designed to employ young men who were unable to find jobs during the Great Depression. The CCC planted millions of trees, built roads, trails and buildings in state and national parks. The Museum at Guernsey State Park is a wonderful example of CCC architecture. Two members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) preparing to plant a pine tree, 1930s (Sub Neg 514, Wyoming State Archives)

The grounds of the Wyoming State Capitol Building is home to many specimen trees. The Wyoming State Forestry Division produces a brochure on the trees, most of which are native to the state. Wyoming State Capitol Building in Spring, photo by Richard Collier, ca 1981 (P88-63/10, Wyoming State Archives)

The grounds of the Wyoming State Capitol Building is home to many specimen trees. The Wyoming State Forestry Division produces a brochure on the trees, most of which are native to the state. Wyoming State Capitol Building in Spring, photo by Richard Collier, ca 1981 (P88-63/10, Wyoming State Archives)
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Friday Foodie: Crumbs in the Cream

Homespun Ice Cream
Mrs. Twidale, Lost Cabin

Dry whole wheat muffins or bread and put through fine food chopper. To one cup of the crumbs, add one cup of brown sugar, one quart of thin cream, two teaspoons vanilla, few grains salt and a quarter cup of coconut or nuts ground with the crumbs. Freeze.

As odd as this recipe sounds to modern American palates, it dates back to Victorian England and has a strong following in modern Ireland where it is best known as brown bread ice cream. The question is, how did it come to Fremont County in 1929?

Twidale 2

Ethel’s recipe for ice cream appears on the very bottom of the front page of this Fremont County Extension newsletter as a part of their suggested Thanksgiving Menu. (WSA Fremont County Clerk, Home Demonstration Agent Annual Report, 1929)

Mrs. Ethel Cleworth Twidale was born in England in 1880. She married Joseph W. Twidale on March 12, 1910 in Manchester, England. Their honeymoon must have been their voyage to the US, because they arrived New York City in April and were in West Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming, just in time to be enumerated in the Federal census on May 12-14.

Twidale NY Passenger List from Ancestry copy

Joseph and Ethel arrived in New York on April 2, 1910 on the ship Campania. They gave their destination as Casper, Wyoming. (New York passenger List, Ancestry.com)

Born in 1877, Joseph was the 2nd son of a farmer with 8 other children. Ethel interesting is listed as a “spinster” on her marriage record. She was 30 years old at the time. The couple followed Joseph’s younger brothers Samuel and Frank who came to America in 1905 and settled in Natrona County. In 1915, the couple became US citizens and in 1916, they proved up on their homestead just across the Fremont-Natrona County line from Lysite.

Twidale

County and State Extension Agents often asked for volunteers to allow them to demonstrate new techniques, methods or skills to the local community. The Twidale’s home was used to model landscaping and home beautification by planting native trees and shrubs. The county agent’s 1929 report included the site plan and a photo of the property before work began. (WSA Fremont County Clerk, Home Demonstration Agent Annual Report, 1929)

The family agreed to allow the State Forestry Extension Agent to use their newly built log home to demonstrate ranch beautification. A plan for the planting of trees, bushes, flowers and a clover lawn were included in the Fremont County Extension Agent’s 1929 annual report.

Later in life, the couple moved to Billing and lived on Wyoming Avenue. Joseph died in early 1954 and Ethel in 1959. Both are buried in Billings.

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