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Chandelier Tree facts for kids

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Chandelier tree
Photo of the tree. Tree has a tunnel through the center of the trunk.
Species Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
Location Leggett, California, US
Coordinates 39°51′30″N 123°43′09″W / 39.8583984°N 123.7192347°W / 39.8583984; -123.7192347

The Chandelier Tree in Drive-Thru Tree Park is a 276-foot (84 m) tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California with a 6-foot (1.8 m) wide by 6-foot-9-inch (2.06 m) high hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. Its base measures 16 ft (4.9 m) diameter at breast height (chest-high). The sign claims 315 ft. high and 21 ft. wide, but a Certified Arborist experienced with tallest redwoods, using a laser rangefinder, measured the tree as 276 ft. high and 16 ft. diameter. The name "Chandelier Tree" comes from its unique limbs that resemble a chandelier. The limbs, which measure from 4 to 7 ft (1.2 to 2.1 m) in diameter, begin 100 ft (30 m) above the ground. The tree is believed to have been carved in the early 1930s by Charlie Underwood.

A vintage postcard of the Chandelier Tree was shown during the opening credits of National Lampoon's Vacation.

Other tunnel trees

A number of big trees in California had tunnels dug through them in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The tunnel allowed tourists to drive, bike, or walk through the tree. The tunneling inflicted severe damage to the health and strength of the trees. The tunnels were cut to stimulate automobile tourism. Because of the damaging effects of carving through trees, the trend of creating tunnel trees has long passed.

Giant sequoias

The two giant sequoia drive-through trees have both fallen:

But two walk-through tunnel trees still stand:

  • California Tunnel Tree in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park. The California Tunnel Tree's passageway was dug in 1895 to allow horse-drawn stagecoaches to pass through the tree. Today, people can walk or bike through it.
  • A dead tunnel tree in Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite National Park. The dead tunnel tree in Tuolumne Grove was the first standing sequoia to be tunneled.

Coast redwoods

Two other drive-through coast redwood trees (taller and more slender than giant sequoias) still stand. These are also along US 101 in northern California, in Klamath and Myers Flat.

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