Kan. Community Cuts Down Dead But Historic Tree

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COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. (AP) _ The remnants of a historic oak tree that once served as a landmark on the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas has been cut down.

But residents plan to preserve a section of the trunk and display it.

The tree in Council Grove was about 290 years old. It once stood 80 feet tall in a campground for travelers along the trail. According to historical records, travelers used it as a "post office'' from the 1820s to the 1840s, storing messages for future travelers in a cavity at the tree's base.

The tree was declared dead in 1990, and most of its branches had been removed. Since then, the 20-foot trunk has deteriorated, leaving it structurally unsound. And on Tuesday, the Morris County Historical Society, which operates a museum nearby, had the oak cut down.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)