OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Smith Farm Walnut

Posted on: May 4th, 2022 in Heritage Tree Details |

Tree Info:

Age: 157

Height: approx. 120′

Circumference: 14′ 8″

Average Crown Spread: approx. 140′

The walnut tree at the entrance to the historic George W. Smith Farm on S. Coos River Road in Coos Bay, Oregon, was originally planted by William D.L.F. Smith in 1865. Smith included the walnut in a grouping of four trees along with Chinese Chestnuts when the farmhouse was built. This tree has been an important community landmark for generations. Before electricity, the tree was used as a marker to signal boats to stop. These boats brought mail, milk, and groceries to serve the communities upriver. After electricity was brought to the area the tree hosted a milk stand at the base. In the 1920s Coos County built S. Coos River Road and the communities upriver weren’t as dependent on the river for travel. The walnut tree and the grove surrounding, however, still served as a marker for the farm and dairy along the road.

Roger Ott, whose family has lived upriver for generations said, “Regarding the Walnut Tree, I don’t know much about it other than I remember it being there always. It seems like there was another one there also, but it blew down or the county road department took it down because of the narrow road.  My Grandfather, Fred Weaver (my mom’s dad), had a farm in the valley behind Geo. Smith’s. He was waiting for the boat a few hundred yards upriver during a storm sheltering under a tree and was killed by lightning 1925. I believe he was the first recorded lightning death in Coos County.”

The Smith Farm was designated as an Oregon Sesquicentennial Farm in 2015, for remaining in the same family for over 150 years. The Smith Farm Walnut was designated an Oregon Heritage Tree in the class of 2022.