The forest contains some of the world’s biggest and largest trees and is located in what is now known as Kings Canyon National Park (east of Fresno, California). The well-known Big Stump can be found here. This massive stump, which has a diameter of 52 feet, once held an enormous sequoia tree nicknamed “Mark Twain,” after the actual writer Mark Twain visited the stump and was immediately fascinated by its enormous size and was inspired to write about it.
As word spread about these massive trees of the west (California) in the late 1800s, many people simply did not believe the stories that were going around the country. Even for those who chose to travel across the country to see the extraordinary Sequoia National Park for themselves, the journey was simply too difficult at the time. It now takes at least a 2-mile hike to reach the Big Stump (about an hour hike). It was decided in 1891 to “sacrifice” the massive tree by cutting it down.
This was done so that segments of the Mark Twain tree could be displayed in museums such as the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Natural History Museum in London.
Due to the thickness of the tree, it took four lumbermen, Bill Mills and S.D. Phips, a man named Barney, and John Lukey, 13 days to cut it down. It was common for nearby mills to take weeks to cut down these massive sequoia trees, owing to the tools used, which were elongated flimsy hand saws.