to Point of Interest Road
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of sign - Located in the median of Interstate 80 between
Cheyenne and Laramie.
taken July 2007
courtesy of Jimmy Wayne
This small pine tree that
seems to be growing out of solid rock has fascinated travelers since
the first train rolled past on the Union
Pacific Railroad. It is
said that the builders of the original railroad diverted the tracks
slightly to pass by the tree as they laid rails
Mountain in 1867-69. It is also said that trains stopped here while
locomotive firemen 'gave the tree a drink' from
their water buckets.
The railroad moved several miles to the south in 1901 and the
abandoned grade became a wagon road.
In 1913 the Lincoln
Highway Association was formed 'To procure the establishment of a
continuous improved highway from the
Atlantic to the Pacific.' The
Lincoln Highway was an instant success in a nation enamored with the
newfangled automobiles and
eager for a place to drive them. The
Lincoln passed right by Tree Rock as did U. S. 30 in the 1920s and
Interstate 80 in the 1960s.
At this place the road was approaching
the 8,835-foot Sherman Summit, the highest point on the Lincoln. The
view of the
surrounding mountains was like nothing that west-bound
easterners had ever seen. Still, they noticed the little tree, which
the favored subject of many early postcards and photographs.
It still is.
The tree is a somewhat
stunted and twisted limber pine (Pinus flexilis), a type of tree
commonly found in this area where ponderosa
and limber pines
dominate the landscape. The age of the tree is unknown, although
limber pines can live as long as 2,000 years. The
tree grows out of
a crack in a boulder of Precambrian era pink Sherman granite formed
more than 1-4 billion years ago.
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