Stump of the Former U.S. Champion Elm Tree
Louis Vieux operated a ferry across the Vermilion River, and somehow his name was attached to this tree. Experts believe that it dates to the very early 18th century, which would make it nearly 300 years old. It was believed to be America's largest elm -- spared from Dutch Elm Disease by its remote location -- until the summer of 1998, when someone stuck a pipe bomb into its crotch and blew it to pieces. Was the attack prompted by hatred of the Dutch, or of shade, or of vertical things in a notoriously flat state?
Until recently the tree was mostly just a big stump, and one branch had survived. But tree molesters struck again, reported to have burned what living parts might have remained of the tree.