The Majestic Hooker Oak Tree

Hooker Oak also known as Vally Oak or (Quercus lobata) is located in Chico Ca. In 1887 Amateur botanist and local socialite Annie Bidwell, whose husband had founded Chico, named the tree after English botanist and Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker.  In 1872 Hooker had declared this specific oak tree to be the largest of its kind worldwide. Since then there have been other Valley Oaks that share similar sizes and traits with the Hooker Oak.  This tree was also featured in the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood which stared Errol Flynn. On January 7, 1958 the Sacramento Bee had reported that the Hooker Oak tree was over 110 ft (34 m) tall and estimated that 7,885 people could stand under its canopy assuming 2 sq ft (0.2 m2) per person. Unfortunately the tree fell on May 1st, 1977, but to everyones surprise the tree had shown that it was not a single tree but two large trees that had grown together! It was nearly a hundred feet tall (30 m) and at eight feet (2.4 m) from the ground, 29 feet (8.8 m) in circumference. The largest branch measured 111 feet (34 m) from trunk to tip and the circumference of outside branches was nearly five hundred feet (150 m). Its age had been estimated at a thousand years, but on its demise it was found to be two trees, of 325 years each which had long ago grown into one. The fallen tree had stayed put for nearly three years on the ground while the local city leaders struggled to figure out the final fate of the tree. Finally in the Spring of 1980, the City of Chico commissioned Cal Oak Lumber Company to remove and reclaim sound portions of the tree at Cal Oak's Oroville hardwood plant. They were allowed to retain some of the wood as compensation. After milling the oak, Cal Oak arranged for the lumber to be dried at the University of California's Forest Products Laboratory. The Royal Botanical Gardens also received acorns from the original tree in 1981 and planted them in their gardens. Chico Fire Chief, Elmer Brouillard made gavels and plaques from the wood for the Chico City Council. Personnel at both Cal Oak and University of California Berkeley Forestry Lab became intrigued with the lumber. The wood turned out to be as remarkable as was the tree. In order to support its immense crown, the tree grew an abnormal portion of support wood on the upper side of its limbs and stems. This type wood is known as "tension wood" and helped provide the tree with an unbelievable high density: .88 specific gravity, roughly 50% heavier than surrounding oaks. This together with other special characteristics, provided the wood with its unique grain and character, and the tree, apparently with its longevity. Today you can still visit the Majestic Hooker Oak Tree stump in Chico Ca at the Hooker Oak Park which was named after the famous tree. The gavel used by the mayor of Chico and the bench and pedal board of the Centennial Pipe Organ are made from wood from the Hooker Oak.  

References: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooker_Oak 

https://localwiki.org/chico/Hooker_Oak_tree