This Old Tree podcast host Doug Still (left) and Council Board Member, arborist and author Jean Zimmerman (right) met with Jack Hale of the Hartford, Connecticut Tree Advisory Commission as part of their extensive exploration into the history, lore, and meaning of the storied Charter Oak, which blew over in a storm in 1856. It is thought to date back to the 12th or 13th century.

Earlier this winter, Doug Still and Jean Zimmerman met up in Hartford, Connecticut to find out as much as possible about the Charter Oak, a white oak (Quercus alba) tree so imbued with meaning that it is used as a symbol for place names and businesses–and as inspiration for art and design–all over the State. Jean wrote about her and Doug’s experience uncovering “the facts, the legend, and the legacy” at In the Hidden History of Connecticut’s Charter Oak on her blog (

From the This Old Tree show notes for this episode:

King James II of England threatened to revoke the precious Charter of Connecticut in 1687, and sent one of his men to retrieve it. That meant an end to the colony’s limited democracy and independence. But before it was exchanged during a key meeting, a hero slipped out of the room with it under his arm and hid it within the cavity of an old oak tree. That tree – the Charter Oak – is now a state icon. Get the full story here!