If you’ve ever browsed the paintings on the walls of the Library, you may have noticed a watercolor print titled “The Great Oak,” created by Pauline G. Emmert and depicting a large, black oak tree local to Lloyd Neck. But did you know that this tree was approximately 550 years old when it was felled by Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2006?
“The Big Oak,” as it was commonly known, began its life before Columbus came to the New World and grew to the massive height of 90 feet, with its trunk reaching 36 feet in circumference and its branches spreading out to 150 feet. It lived through the birth of a nation – at which time it was already over 300 years old – and was a common tourist attraction even up to its last years, by which point its bulk was being supported with cables and pipes. The ancient oak was even listed on a national register of historic trees.
Following its demise, the Big Oak lived on in a variety of ways. Much of it was used to create a reading room and museum in the renovation of Lloyd Harbor Village Hall, and an 18-foot table residing there was made from branches that had previously fallen from the tree. Acorns shed by the tree during its final year were collected and put in cold storage for future planting attempts.
A slice of the Big Oak is on display at the Village Hall library.
Sources / Further Reading:
The New York Times, “Laid Low After 550 Years, a Giant Oak Tree Has a Big Future”
The Huntington Patch, “‘Big Oak’ Piece Unveiled at Lloyd Harbor Village Hall”