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Big Tree, Mother of the Forest. Diam. 26 feet. Calavarus [i.e. Calaveras] Co., Cal [California].
Bancroft Library, University of California Berkely
Zelda Mackay Collection of Stereographic Views. Identifier: 16113
Cathedral Grove (Accessed: 18 May 2018) states:
A photo taken in 1860 was entitled "The Mother of the Forest, 305 ft high, 63 ft circumference" (right). It shows the 120 ft high scaffold used in 1854 to strip the bark from the trunk of the 2,520 years old tree. The bark was sent by sea from San Francisco to New York and London for the purpose of the profit from its display as a curiosiy and as proof to a disbelieving public of the existence of such giant trees.
Many stereoviews were made of the giant Sequoias. One series, "California Big Trees," by Boston photographer John P. Soule, included a stereoview entitled "Mother of the Forest, looking up the Tree, circum. 76 ft, over 306 ft high" (left). For decades after her bark was removed Mother remained a famous landmark, until a fire in 1908. Also her bark, on display for over a decade at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, was destroyed by a fire in 1866. Thus all traces of the big tree, which might have lived for centuries more in her ancient forest home, disappeared within a few short years of her discovery by Euroamerican settlers.