NEBRASKA CITY – A black oak that dates back two decades before American colonists signed the Declaration of Independence and earned the 2005 prestigious tree award has come down.

Based on testimonies of Ken and Alice Clark and others who had lived portions of their lives beneath the shade of the tree, it has been growing in Nebraska City for 270 years.

The Clarks said they bought the property at 1802 Third Ave. in 1977 from Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Conkling, who sold only upon the Clarks’ promise that they would never harm the tree.


An older couple later visited to tell the Clarks they had lived in a little house that is gone now, but was once shaded by the tree in 1927.



Rod Edwards of the Nebraska City Tree Board said the tree was probably part of an oak savannah that grew along the river. Its hard bark allowed it to survive prairie fires.

The tree’s circumference was measured then at 13 feet and 9 inches in 2005 and was 72 feet tall.

The tree was damaged by an ice storm at the turn of the century and again in a wind storm this summer.











Photo courtesy of Jessica Moyer