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The Wizard Tree: 1900

New Hampshire circa 1900. "The Wizard Tree, Cathedral Woods, North Conway, White Mountains." 8x10 glass transparency, Detroit Publishing. View full size.

New Hampshire circa 1900. "The Wizard Tree, Cathedral Woods, North Conway, White Mountains." 8x10 glass transparency, Detroit Publishing. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Re: Gnarly

Except this one wouldn't throw apples. Lookout! Here comes a canoe!!

Modest proposal

Can we all agree to start dressing like this again?


Reminds me of the bad-attitude apple trees in "The Wizard of Oz."


This photo is the first on Shorpy to look like it was pre-Farked. What will the Farkers do with it?

In the Wizard's Forest

I can see Frank Baum using this wonderful tree for his Oz adventures. Maybe that's where it got that appropriate name; it certainly does fit the role!

Colorized version

Maybe from years ago to be used for postcards.


The view from another angle, courtesy of Picturesque New England, South-East New Hampshire, 1903, published by the Boston and Maine Railroad. No explanation is provided in the text but, to my eyes, the trunk resembles a wizard with upraised arms. Could well be labeled an Ent but for the fact the photo was captured five decades before publication of Lord of the Rings.

Enchanted Woods

More here.

The Wizard Birch

Well, like WrenchBender I was intrigued and looked around for more info. Seems the closest location is actually Intervale (though I've seen the North Conway location listed as well). Access seems to have been along a now "lost" trail known as the Intervale Path From the looks of it, the "Wizard Birch" was (is?) probably located in what is now the lower southwestern part of the Merriman State Forest.

Tree House

When we were kids this tree would have been used for a three level clubhouse.

A magnificent tree

Having visited North Conway many times and even Cathedral Woods I have no recollection of this tree. I have written to Conway Historical society and hopefully some information will be forthcoming. This is one of the reasons why Shorpy is so great.

Eye of the beholder

"I think that I shall never see,
A poem as lovely as a tree."

But that one is butt ugly.

Apologies to Joyce Kilmer.

Might be gone

A little digging yielded a mention in a description of a path, that path having become lost, then a past-tense reference in a 1995 book ("The massive gnarled birch known as the "Wizard" grew in the section of Intervale called Cathedral Woods"). Based on the path description, my best guess is that its (former?) location is somewhere in this patch of woods.

At least one sonnet was inspired by this tree:

THOU Wizard Tree, set here in solitude,

What changed thee from the fair form of thy kind?
Was it some vengeful demon of the wind

That smote thee when thy trunk his way withstood?

Or did the sun, unheedful of thy good,
Disdain to shine upon thy pearly rind
And warm thy heart? Or hast thou not divined

Why nature made of thee an alien in the wood?

Ten thousand thousand patterns, large and small,
Hath nature for the fashion of her art;

And yet there is naught common in them all,
Nor doth she from her pattern far depart.

And thou, Old Tree, whose growth so strange hath been

Hast yet within the red heart of thy kin.


Looks like a sycamore.

Wizard Tree

Does anybody have any idea why this is called the Wizard Tree? Is it still standing?

I tried doing an on-line search but didn't find anything.

Hopefully, somebody from New Hampshire will chime in and clear this up.

Trekking to Mordor

Missing from photo: Frodo, Sam and Gollum.

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