Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Old Apple Tree Celebration

We celebrated 182 Years of Living History at the 2009 Old Apple Tree Festival on October 3. The oldest living apple tree in the Northwest was 182 years young and ready to celebrate again. Our city was incorporated just 151 years ago but Fort Vancouver was here to welcome explorers and other visitors that traveled along the Columbia River, including Lewis and Clark.

Live music, an old-fashioned baking contest, free tree cuttings and more awaited the community at the free annual Old Apple Tree Festival at the Old Apple Tree. Planted in 1826 at Fort Vancouver of modest beginnings, the noble Old Apple Tree is considered the matriarch of Washington State's apple industry. It has stoically withstood flood, wind, ice, snow, steady human encroachment and, most recently, breakage of a major limb. Despite the challenges, it survives.

Vancouver has commemorated the rich heritage of the tree and region each fall since 1984, when the Old Apple Tree Park was opened, until three years ago, when construction of the Confluence Project's Vancouver Land Bridge from Fort Vancouver to the Old Apple Tree Park placed the event temporarily on hold.

To mark the return of the Old Apple Tree Festival, the City of Vancouver's Urban Forestry Commission gave away locally grown apples and the Old Apple Tree itself will provide tree cuttings - one per household while the limited supply lasted.

The family-friendly festival featured live music by the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association and Vancouver Blue Grass Jammers; activities for kids; arborists answering questions about trees; and on-site food vendors. A prize awaited the best overall apple entry in an Old-fashioned Baking Contest, sponsored by the Optimists Club of Vancouver. (No, I did not enter it.)

This is how one approaches the OLD Apple Tree Park from the south -- on Columbia Way, which parallels the Columbia River, you walk under the "bridge" of the railroad tracks! Inside, you find a grassy park with a few benches and the beginning of the Land Bridge recently constructed over Hiway 14.BUT most of all, you find the oldest apple tree in the Northwest.

This past year, our famous apple tree had the misfortune to break off in two major places during a windstorm. The agriculture people thought we had lost our historical tree BUT it was not to be. It has major damage but it is still growing! The following photos are views of it from all sides.It is a shame that they had to put the orange "keep out" fence around it but at least it was there to celebrate another year of history. With the good, sometimes comes the "bad" -- the tree has lasted so long that we hate to see anything happen to it. It is OUR history!

The OLD APPLE TREE has provided many cuttings yearly on its anniversary each FALL. Although many people have personal plantings FROM the tree (They give 100 away annually.) and planted them all over Vancouver and surrounding cities, this is the one we all gather at each FALL to celebrate a part of our history.

Many other things were happening at the event and maybe I will show some of the photos in another post as this one has gotten quite long now. . .


This one was planted just 7 years ago.

This seedling was planted on the north side of the old Carnegie Library, now a Museum for Clark County, but hopefully, it will carry on the traditions of the OLD APPLE TREE should it not live to celebrate another year.

See the beautiful apples the descendant of the original OLD APPLE TREE produced this year?!?


Malyss said...

I'm glad to have learned and seen more about this part of your history. I find lovely that some people take care of that old tree. i hope he will survive to this important wound; At least, he has lots of "babies" around the city, and that way the memory will stay; When I see such trees , I wonder about all the srories they could say if they could talk!..

RuneE said...

An apple tree as old as that is well worth celebrating - and apples are also worth eating :-)

PS thank you for the comments! I'm not at home at present, so for a few days there will be few comments and posts.

JOE TODD said...

I love festivals like that and I particularly like fruit trees. Linda and I live in town on a relatively small lot but we have 3 peach trees two apple trees and two pear trees. One year we had so many peaches on one of the limbs it broke. Hope to see more pictures and have a great day.

Viola said...

Such a wonderful appletree!! 182 yrs!
I hope it will grow and live still for many years. A great festival, I think. Even if it broke off some branches, the love to the tree from the people around seems to make the tree strong and proud, to want itself to stay alive.. :) So nice to hear that people have personal plantings from the old appletree. Interesting post you've got here :)

cieldequimper said...

That's a very cool post about the history of an apple tree. Hope it reaches 200. I would have loved to taste those pies!

Barb said...

Very interesting! Long live the apple tree!

Annie said...

Hi PERBS. Just following up on your questions from yesterday at my Ruby Tuesday. The site you saw was Flickr. I simply go to my photos I have there and blog directly to In My Dreams. It's an excellent site for editing as well. You might like to try it.


Martha Z said...

That is one tough apple tree, may it continue to survive.

Cindi said...

Oh my...that old apple tree just will not give up, will it? What perseverence!

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About Me

My photo
WELCOME to my blog. I hope you will return often.

I am on my third digital camera, all Olympus. I enjoy using it and sharing my photos. I also enjoy writing. I hope to share a little of each on this blog. My main blog is Postcards From the Northwest.

Kerri and I will continue to add benches to "For the Love of Benches Continued . . . " blog also. It is good to continue to share with her!

Continuation of the Kiggins House Re-model photos were lost when my computer crashed.

The latest city project, TURTLE PLACE, will unfold here as I have time to add photos. It is complete and maybe I can find enough photos someday to show you the final results. Next project after the two I am working on now. . .

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