Congressman Tom McClintock was the featured speaker on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the dedication of a slice of history from the historic “Fremont Oak” tree displayed in the lobby of El Dorado County Government Building C, 2850 Fairlane in Placerville.
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The approximate 300-year-old oak fell in a winter storm in 1993 on Buckboard Road in Mosquito on the property of Glenn and Debbie Lewis. The tree is thought to be the same one described in John C. Fremont’s journal of his historic crossing of the Sierra in the 1840s.
Recognizing its historical significance, the Lewis’ agreed to donate a section of the oak tree to El Dorado County. They worked with Supervisor Ray Nutting and local contractor Gordon Vicini, who volunteered to deliver the round to the El Dorado County Government Center.
Since its original installation in 1995, the round of wood had sat on the floor in the foyer of Building C, making it difficult to fully appreciate its magnitude and features.
Eagle Scout Samuel Neill, Boy Scout Troop 117, Shingle Springs/Latrobe, approached El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting with an idea for his Scout Service Project. The plan was to build a support structure to properly display the round and showcase its historical significance.
Next came the design, construction and delivery of a new metal stand to house the round of wood.
Designing and constructing a display stand similar to a giant easel capable of holding the 3,300 pound tree round, was no easy task.
“Samuel has been working on this project for over two years. He arranged to get the material donated, located a professional engineer who volunteered to design it and worked diligently with a local welder to build the stand to its proper specifications. This project was very complex, a formidable task for anyone, let alone a teenage Boy Scout,” said Gary Gorans, Scoutmaster for Troop 117.
Assisting with the dedication was Jack Williams, chairman of the board of the Golden Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Mosquito landowners Glenn and Debbie Lewis, where the tree originally grew; and Supervisor Ray Nutting.