The Ancient Oak tree has been overlooking the Mississippi River Gorge for a long time.  From its site on the bluff it witnessed the growth of the Minneapolis skyline.  This quietly dignified tree is located about 2 miles downstream from what is now called Saint Anthony Falls.  This great tree may have over heard the Dakota refering to the only falls on the Mississppi as "O-Wa-Mni" (whirlpool) or “Ha-Ha Tanka” (waterfall).  
 
This tree has been observing this area since before Minneapolis was incorporated as a city, before Fort Snelling was built downstream in 1819 by the United States Army, before the United States Government pressed the Mdewakanton band of the Dakota to sell the land on which it's roots hold, and possibly before French explorers arrived around 1680.  If we could only hear the stories this tree could tell from all it has witnessed.
 
It would be an understatement to say the tree has been through a lot in its long lifetime.  This spring 2010 this urban forest treasure did not leaf out.  Below is information from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Forestry Division about the Ancient Oak.
 
Estimated Age (in 2010): 333 years old (calculated using a growth factor 6.5 and 51.25 inch diameter at breast height)
Theodore Wirth wrote in 1941 in Minneapolis Park System that the tree could be anywhere from 150 to 700 years old based on the views of botanists of the day.  based on those figures the tree could be anywhere from 219 to 769 years old.
Estimated year planted/sprouted: 1677 
 
Year died: 2010
 
Height in 2010: 44 feet
Theodore Wirth noted a height of 58 feet in 1941.
Diameter 2010: 51.25 inches (measured at 4.5 inches above ground)
 
Cirumference 2010: 161 inches (measured at 4.5 inches above ground)
Theodore Wirth noted a girth of 14 feet (168 inches) in 1941, measured at 2 feet above ground.  It measures 14 feet (168 inches) in 2010.
Average Canopy Spread 2010: 36.5 feet
Theodore Wirth noted a branch spread of 66 feet in 1941.
Species: bur oak - Quercus macrocarpa
 
Significance:  This was the oldest known living tree in Minneapolis.
 
How to find Theodore Wirth's book: You can find Theodore Wirth's book Minneapolis Park System at a Hennepin County Library
 
Quote from Theodore Wirth's book Minneapolis Park System:
 
 
Location: The tree is across from 924 Franklin Terrace, on the bluff in Riverside Park.  The tree can be accessed from Franklin Terrace.
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