Old Man Fig of Orange

Ever since moving to the city of Orange last year, I found myself fascinated by this enormous tree whenever I’d drive past. While out with Kat this past Sunday, we stopped so I could take some pictures. Kat’s posing near the roots so you can get an idea of the size.Old Man Fig of Orange (3)I was thrilled to see the dedication plaque at the tree’s base. I was even more excited when I put my math skills to use and realized Old Man Fig turned 140 years old last Friday, March 6!Old Man Fig of Orange (2)I’ve driven past a similar, huge tree in Santa Barbara, up the coast, north of Los Angeles. According to Wikipedia, that tree was planted in 1876, a year later than Old Man Fig of Orange, and is considered to be the largest in the United States. I wonder if anyone’s ever measured our tree. Maybe he now holds the world record. I like to think he does!!

I became a bit more curious as to what was going on in the world when our giant tree was planted, and came across this link to Historical Events for Year 1875. I dug a little more, did a search on Henri F Gardner (the name on the plaque), and found a link to an article written by Nathan Masters for LA as Subject in 2013, with vintage photos of other Moreton Fig trees. Isn’t it amazing how being curious can lead us on such interesting journeys?! ~SueBee

Further information about Henri F Gardner was found at this link, and is pasted below:

The Gardner family was important in the land development and citrus production of Orange County, California. His son, Dian Rathbun Gardner, was a attorney who helped establish the Gardner Company by the family heirs after the death of his mother, Emma Howard Gardner, in 1935. The company dissolved in 1961 following the death of Dian Rathbun Gardner. The collection consists of correspondence, clippings, legal material, and ephemera relating to Henri F. Gardner, his wife Emma H. Gardner, his son Dian Rathbun Gardner, and the Gardner Company of Orange, California. Also includes account books, bank statements, correspondence and stock certificates relating to water development in Orange County, employee records and files on citrus production of the Gardner Company.
The Gardner family was important in the land development and citrus production of Orange County, California; Henri F. Gardner, landowner and developer, also played a role in water development of the county during the late 19th and early 20th centuries; his son, Dian Rathbun Gardner, was an attorney who helped establish the Gardner Company by the family heirs after the death of his mother, Emma Howard Gardner, in 1935; the company dissolved in 1961, following the death of Dian Rathbun Gardner.

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Categories: Historic Sites, Photography


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6 Comments on “Old Man Fig of Orange”

  1. Mar 13, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    It certainly is a magnificent tree.

  2. Mar 13, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    A lot of history’s taken place during this tree’s lifetime.

  3. Mar 13, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Wow. Love the last pic

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