The Wawona Tree, also known as the Wawona Tunnel Tree, was a famous giant sequoia that stood in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California, USA, until 1969. It had a height of 227 feet (69 m) and was 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at the base.
Native Americans named giant sequoia trees Wawona, which to them sounded like the hoot of an owl. The owl was considered the guardian spirit, the deity of these trees. The literal meaning of Wawona, translated from Miwok, is 'big trees'.
A tunnel was cut through the tree in 1881, enlarging an existing fire scar. Two men, the Scribner brothers, were paid $75 for the job ($1,833 in inflation-adjusted terms). The tree had a slight lean, which increased when the tunnel was completed. Hired by the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company to create a tourist attraction, this human-made tunnel became extremely popular. Visitors were often photographed driving through or standing in the tunnel.
The Wawona Tree fell in 1969 under a heavy load of snow on its crown. The giant sequoia is estimated to have been 2,300 years old. It is now known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree.
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- Hewes, Jeremy Joan (1984). Redwoods: The World's Largest Trees. New York: Gallery Books. ISBN 978-0831773816.