I moved here in 1990, and this tree has been out there as long as I have been here. Although I have asked old timers, no one seemed to know the story...? It is located a few miles north of Red Bluff on the East side of I 5 . Every year, around Thanksgiving, it is magically transformed into a bright shiny decorated Christmas tree. I finally learned the story , just this year 2022.
Years ago in the early 1960’s when major reconstruction work began to get underway on that section of the highway, Cottonwood resident and lover of trees Carrie Bogue asked the road officials if she could dig up the tree and move it out of harm’s way. It was not the oak that i had thought, but an osage orange and pretty rare in Northern California. She was denied her simple request and the tree stayed where it stood. Work on the highway continued and somehow her tree managed to remain standing through the reconstruction work. However, a few years later, it died. And then, in 1966, a few years after the tree died, Carrie died. She was 93 years old.
One day , old friends of hers were driving by the “dead” tree, and noticed it had miraculously come back to life! And they thought it was Carrie, now in the form of a tree, since she had always said if she could come back to life after death, she wanted to come back as a tree. And so, according to the Chadwick’s, and everyone else who knew Carrie well, there she was, alive again, this time as a tree, just as she had wished.
That Christmas season, in 1967, the Chadwick’s decorated Carrie’s tree. They covered the tree with bright garlands, tinsels and bows for everyone to see as they passed by on the highway that had now become a freeway. Over the years, the decorating job has been handed down from family to family.
The Gather collab