World's Largest Sycamore Stump
A giant sycamore tree once stood several miles west of Kokomo. It was centuries old -- no one knew how many -- when it was felled by a storm, leaving a hollow stump over 57 feet around, 18 feet wide, and 12 feet high.
Jacob Bergman, commissioner of Kokomo's city park, liked the stump. He thought it would make a worthy attraction for Kokomo's park, "an artifact of Kokomo's pioneer days" he said at the time. Jacob paid a guy with a big tractor $300 to haul the stump to the park. The trek began and ended on a Sunday morning, June 18, 1916.
Reporters wrote that the stump would stand at the highest point in the park, with a doorway cut into its side and a spiral staircase built inside, leading to a roofed observation deck. That never happened. Instead, the stump sat around outdoors for years, slowly assaulted by park visitors who carved their names into it.
In 1938 Kokomo had the National Youth Administration built an open air shelter around the stump. The shelter was eventually screened, and in 1989 it was glassed into an all-weather pavilion with two added wings, one for a park visitor center, the other to house Kokomo's other mega-attraction, the World's Largest Steer.
Randy Morris, the current park superintendent, told us that the stump was once made into a phone booth (it could hold over two dozen people), but it was removed long ago. The sycamore stump is now just a hollow shell: gnarled, cracked, and eerie. It looks like it could be inhabited by a witch that eats children. Kokomo loves it -- so do we -- because it's the largest of its kind in the world. "I've never heard of any challengers," said Randy.
Believe it or not, the World's Largest Sycamore Stump is not the only famous stump in Indiana.