The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 9, 2013

The Big Tree, The Circus, and Ringwood Park

Picture: Looking north from high atop the Courthouse in 1905 one can still see the ballpark, the open spaces, the limestone quarry, the millionaire’s mansions on the bluff and just out of sight to the north is the original “Big Tree.”

The Ringwood area or Ringwood Park was seven blocks of open fields, at the turn of the 20th Century, that extended from the north end of Clinton to the south end of Lyons at what is now 13th Avenue North. The Phillip Deeds farm acted as a buffer between Clinton and Lyons.

Our hardworking researchers at the Root Cellar of the Clinton Public Library came up with some startling news last week. While going meticulously through The Clinton Daily Heralds of 1904, Dorothy Ryan stopped incredulously at a news article dated November 14th that read, “’Big Tree’ is A Mere Stump!” Under the main headline was a leader: Ancient Landmark in Ringwood Succumbs to the Saw and Axe. It goes on further to state: The Decaying Trunk was Dangerous. (Another) Massive Cottonwood is in the way and shares the same fate as other large trees in the area. -- Who knew? As nearly as we can track down, the original ‘Big Tree’ was on the Phillip Deeds property, a family farm which stretched along the present 13th Avenue North from the current 2nd Street, west to 4th Street. And, as nearly as we can now tell, this giant cottonwood was near the intersection of 13th and North 4th Street.

The tree could have been a cousin to the cottonwood we know as a silver poplar. Many of these trees are evident today along 13th near where beloved former editor Ev Streit once lived. Most people of our fair city, at least those living today, all remember the ‘Big Tree’ as being on 2nd Street and 13th Avenue North, just about 100 feet from the northwest corner. Nevertheless, it apparently wasn’t the first. We suspect that many towns havw a ‘big tree’ and once it is lost, another simply takes its place.

Text Only
  • Rastrelli's Rastrelli's restaurant a cornerstone in Lyons District Pete Rastrelli (1900-1966) came here to work for Marcucci’s as a candy maker in 1926 after learning the trade at businesses like Curtis Candy Co. in Chicago.In Clinton, he met and married a nursing student named Ida Baldacci. Ida was an orphan from C

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 6-11-14 McEleney photo A closer look at the McEleneys' history Leo and Emmett McEleney started their business in 1914. Now, 100 years of service to the community has been accomplished. They started with Jeffery automobiles, and it was their mechanical prowess (Emmett) and business sense (Leo) which really helped

    June 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • St. Irenaeus Church marks 150 years Lyons was founded in 1835 by Elijah Buell. Just 13 years later, the Catholic parish of St. Irenaeus was organized by Father Cyril Jean, a French priest sent to Lyons by Bishop Matthew Loras who also presided at the first Mass in 1837. The first wood

    May 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Herrity history Picture showcases tower's fall You may have heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Well, this picture certainly is. History-lovers can often go on talking about some old photographs for a half-hour or more, and this is a fine example. Let's start with Sunday, July 27,

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-14-14 Longman service Clinton hero laid to rest

    ROCK ISLAND, Ill.-- After 70 years, Lt. Louis L. Longman, of Clinton, finally has been laid to rest with full military honors in the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery. First Lt. Chaplin Jacob Grenier, of Muscatine, performed Catholic burial rite

    April 12, 2014 4 Photos

  • Drive-in theatre dominant Clinton's own drive-in theater Spring brings many thoughts, but taking the family out to see a big-screen movie at the Clinton Drive-In Theatre on Iowa 136 and North 16th Street is sadly no longer an option. Large families were thirsting for family activities after World War II.

    April 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Longmann 70 years in the making: WWII soldier to be honored Imagine three boys, orphaned in the midst of the Great Depression, moving from Minnesota to an adjacent state to live with extended family. How hard it would be to lose both parents and, then, have to move away and take up a new life in a strange tow

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dale Gardner astronaut collage Let's celebrate our successful people There are many famous and successful people who have called Clinton home. We need to celebrate their lives as well as all of their contributions. Recently, former astronaut Dale Gardner, 65, died. He and two other astronauts have connections with Cli

    March 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • Lyons photo for Herrity column HERRITY: Residents have pride in neighborhood

    To this day, thousands of Clintonians say, "I was born and raised in Lyons." Founder Elijah Buell first set foot on the banks of what would become Lyons, Iowa in 1835. He built a cabin, laid out a town, platted the community, raised a family, sold

    December 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • Dem Convention.jpg Famous Clinton Lawyers

    Clinton lawyers in our history are a group of hugely contributing citizens.

    September 27, 2013 1 Photo