Prairie Ridge Meadow loses 300-year-old oak


By Tammy Watts

GREENVILLE — Portions of Darke County experienced heavy winds and rain over the weekend, resulting in the loss of an approximately 300 year-old oak tree at Prairie Ridge Meadow in Greenville.

“It definitely wasn’t a lightning strike; straight line winds caused this,” stated Roger Van Frank, director of Darke County Parks. “We lost one last year, too. Age and bug infestation has caused the demise of these historic trees.”

According to Van Frank, the Ohio Division of Forestry tested the trees’ ages in the 1990s, and found them to be at least 250 years old. The large burr oaks encircle the lower meadow, and most likely witnessed the Treaty of Greene Ville talks in 1795.

Prairie Ridge Meadow, across from the Garst Museum, is home to the Native American Peace Council House, a modern day reconstruction of the one built by General Anthony Wayne. The downed oak is located in the meadow below the Council House, locally known as “Buchy’s Pasture.”

“We just finished removing all the wood from the one we lost last year,” Van Frank lamented, indicating a dark circle, just several yards from the fallen tree. With the influx of officials and dignitaries expected for the unveiling of the Tecumseh statue on June 17, the timing of the loss is particularly inconvenient.

Van Frank plans to sell most of the wood as a fundraiser, or donate part of it to a local wood carver. “What I’d really like to do is make cups from some of it, and give them to the Native American leaders we are expecting for the Tecumseh statue unveiling,” he stated. “The tree was present when their ancestors lived here, and they would have a piece of it.”

Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected].

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