Friday, September 19, 2008
More information on Signal Trees
I have received some more information from friends and family on signal trees and their possible interpretations.
First, lets look at the famous "Signal Tree" along the Cuyahoga near the gorge. I Have attached a picture of the tree and also a picture of the plaque near the tree. I believe the plaque is incorrect in stating that that the tree was a signal to begin the portage to the Tuscarawas River. More than likely the tree designated (1) the Little Cuyahoga River was ahead about 1/4 mile and (2) the gorge and falls nearby are easily portaged. The limbs are pointed in an east/west direction which follows the direction of the Cuyahoga and you can still make out some of the path on the south side of the gorge worn over centuries by Native Americans portaging around the gorge and its falls.
Not many of these signal trees still exist. I am told by a friend that one simple single direction signal tree was located up the Portage trail about a half mile or so from the take out on the Cuyahoga River, but it finally gave up fell back in the 1970's. Maybe more still exist along Portage Path or Portage Trail as it winds through Akron from the Cuyahoga to the Tuscarawas River. If you live in Akron, have a close look and see if you might spy more of these Signal Trees. They have all got to be quite old now, 200 to 300 years old, so not many are going to be left standing.
Also, I am finding that Nature sometimes makes it's own trees in the same "Signal Tree" shape. I have notice two trees in a local park here in Sacramento that have these signal tree shapes but are definitely not Native American Signal trees, they are too young.
If you have any comments or more information, please send your comments and pictures and stories. I would live to learn more about this.