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The Story of the 2,300-Year-Old Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree in Yosemite National Park

Know the tale of this fallen beauty.

If you’ve been to the Yosemite National Park, chances are you’ve seen the famous Wawona Tunnel Tree, now also known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree. The Wawona was once a towering sequoia that stood in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park in California, USA until February 1969. It is estimated to have been around 2,300 years old by the time it fell.

The Wawona had a height of 227 feet (69 m) and was 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at the base. It is not clear where the word ‘Wawona’ came from, but some believe it to mean either ‘big tree’ or ‘hoot of the owl.’

The famous Wawona Tunnel Tree can be found in Yosemite National Park.

The story goes that in 1881, two brothers, the Scribner siblings, were hired to cut a tunnel through the tree. They were paid $75 (around $1,861 in 2016) to do the job by the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company, which planned to make the manmade tunnel a tourist attraction. The Wawona Tunnel Tree was an instant hit, and many visitors posed for photos in and out of the tunnel.

It was turned into a manmade tunnel tree to attract tourists.

The construction of the manmade tunnel was part of the Park Service’s efforts to increase tourism during the rise of the automobile industry. Stephen Mather, the first Director of the National Park Service, believed having a big tourist clientele for the parks would attract more appropriations from Congress and establish the Park Service as a legitimate bureaucratic agency.

In the 1920s, the Park Service was keen on promoting automobile tourism.

During the 1920s, the Park Service was aggressive in promoting automobile tourism. More roads and roadside attractions were developed in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. The term ‘scenic drive’ was introduced into the national vocabulary around this time.

The giant sequoia fell in February 1969 and is believed to have been around 2,300 years old.

Source: PunkToad

In February 1969, the Wawona fell under a heavy load of snow on its crown. There were debates on what should be done to the fallen tree, but it has remained where it fell for ecological reasons. Because of their massive size, giant sequoias can create new ecosystems when they fall, allowing new plant growth and serving as habitat for animals.

The Wawona remains a popular tourist attraction.

Source: Chetkres

Some say the Wawona Tunnel Tree may have served as the inspiration for the 1946 children’s book, Big Tree, by Mary and Conrad Buff.


The Story of Kolmanskop, Former Diamond Mine and Now Ghost Town in the Namib Desert

The town has long since said goodbye to its glory days.

Ghost towns may be creepy, but they always have good stories to tell. Case in point, the Kolmanskop in the middle of the Namib desert in South Africa. Here, no humans can be found, only decrepit houses partly swallowed by the sand. They are witnesses to a once thriving town.

The story goes that in 1908, railway worker Zacharias Lewala, while shoveling in the desert, noticed a sparkling stone. Convinced the stone was a diamond, Lewala decided to show his discovery to his supervisor, German railway inspector August Stauch, for confirmation.

Kolmanskop is located in the middle of the Namib desert in South Africa.

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Scotland Residents Make Unexpected Archaeological Find In The Aftermath of A Strong Storm

After their place was hit by a wild storm, residents discovered an ancient settlement in their midst.

Sometimes significant discoveries come at quite an unexpected time and at an unexpected place. Remember that gigantic Pharoah Ramses II statue found buried in the slums of Cairo? Archaeologists never guessed that such a thing was in the area and now the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is describing the statue as one of its “most important archaeological discoveries” ever.

Well the same can be said regarding this find in the Orkeny Islands, in Scotland. As it turns out, the island was struck by a wild storm in the winter of 1850. At the aftermath of the storm, however, they were surprised to see a secret settlement and archaeologists began coming over to learn more about it.

The settlement, researchers claim, is estimated to have been occupied by around 50 to 100 people over 4,500 to 5,100 years ago. It has since been excavated, explored, and named Skara Brae.

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Meet the Man who Fought in World War II with a Sword and a Bow

What a badass guy!

When you think of men wielding swords, you're probably picturing a medieval infantryman wearing armor and heading off to battle. You're unlikely to be thinking of a man in full military gear in World War II. However, there was one brave soldier who went into battle in full gear along with a bow, a quiver of arrows, and a basket-hilted claymore by his side.

Meet John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, aka Mad Jack, second in command of a British infantry company. Mad Jack was a decorated soldier who fought in the battle of Dunkirk in 1940, wherein 300,000 troops became stranded on the beaches and needed to be evacuated. One of his great achievements in this battle is shooting down a German soldier with one of his arrows!

Jack Churchill aka Mad Jack, one of WWII's greatest badasses.

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