Tree downed by storm may be trail marker from 1800s
A hackberry tree possibly used by Native Americans in the
1800s as a trail marker was toppled by a strong storm last
to be 200 years old, the tree stood beside the Portage River
If the tree was, in fact, a trail
marker, it would have sprouted before Native Americans
region in the late
1810s or early 1820s,
In 1968, during a community efforts to clean up the
river banks at Riverside Park, someone “discovered” the tree and its
unusual L-shape. A local man with a vast knowledge of Native
American culture determined the tree was probably used as a trail marker.
The park was renamed
Trail Marker Park.
It's believed Native Americans used this hackberry tree to
note a shallow part of the river along the trail.
To create the marker, they would have tied down
tree limbs on the then-young hackberry tree to note the
Michael O’Connor, president of the Woodville
Historical Society, said it's impossible to determine where
the trail actually started and stopped, but it appears to
have stretched between Upper Sandusky and Detroit.
Over the years, efforts were made to maintain the integrity
of the badly worn tree, like using bolts to keep its wide,
hollowed trunk from splitting further.
The marker is believed to be the only one
in northwest Ohio.
This is not the first time the tree has created a buzz about
town. Several years ago, inmates from a nearby
detention center were cleaning up the river banks and cut off one of
the tree limbs.
“That was controversial,” said a local resident.
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