The Senator

The tree known as “The Senator,” or simply “the big tree,” burned on January 16, 2012. The massive cypress, located near Longwood, Florida in Seminole County, was believed to be nearly 3,500 years old. Locals, tourists and naturalists alike marveled at The Senator until a fire started by vandals destroyed the renowned landmark one year ago today.

The Senator Cypress tree with State Forester Hux Coulter standing on the left (early 1900s)

The Senator Cypress tree with State Forester Hux Coulter standing on the left (early 1900s)


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  1. Here are a couple of recent articles about The Senator’s remains…

    Wood pieces from The Senator no longer available, officials say
    Posted: Jan 16, 2013 5:59 AM EST Updated: Jan 16, 2013 10:04 AM EST

    Pieces of wood from the historic baldcypress tree The Senator are no longer available “due to overwhelming response,” Seminole County officials say.
    “The demand for pieces of this local icon has exceeded the amount of wood available,” said Jim Duby in a statement.

    Earlier, county officials had offered pieces of wood from the ancient tree to the public, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
    Wood pieces from The Senator no longer available, officials say

    Seminole County makes small pieces of burned ‘Senator’ tree available to public
    County begins handing out small remains of the ancient baldcypress

    By Martin E. Comas, Orlando Sentinel

    January 11, 2013

    Interested in a piece of wood from The Senator, the famous baldcypress tree that caught fire and collapsed nearly a year ago?

    Seminole County is offering remains of the ancient tree — estimated to be more than 3,500 years old — to the public. To request a piece of wood from the tree, call the county’s Greenways and Natural Lands Division at 407-349-0769 or e-mail

    But don’t expect a very large piece.

    “Most of what is left are basically some twigs and small branches,” said Jim Duby, of the county’s leisure services department.

    In October, Seminole commissioners awarded most of the charred remains to an artist, artisans and 18 organizations to create and display art works from the wood. Those organizations included the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.

    Now the county is doling out what’s left of the wood that remains at Big Tree Park near Longwood where the baldcypress once stood.

    Standing at 118 feet, and with a diameter of nearly 18 feet, The Senator had been one of Seminole’s top tourist attractions for decades. But on Jan. 16, 2012, the ancient tree went up in flames and fell. Seminole deputy sheriffs arrested Sara Barnes, 26, and charged her with setting the fire. She is awaiting trial.

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