The Sentinel Blog
9.5 ft diameter @ base
30.1 ft circumference @ base
7.1 ft diameter@ 4.5 ft
22.4 ft circumference @ 4.5 ft
Height & Spread
Max Height: 68 ft
Max crown spread: 117 ft
Average crown spread: 106 ft
Largest limb: 2.0 ft diameter
Approximately: 300 years
Four generations of the Meyer Family have cared for the Sentinel Tree over the last half-century.
They made memories of resting in the tree's shade eating lunch brought during harvest, circumnavigating the tree with farm equipment... sometimes unsuccessfully, and watching the sunsets through the tree's branches.
They know they are not the only admirers of the tree and hope to continue sharing it with future generations of families.
Tammy Barlekamp, Perrysburg, Ohio: I first noticed the majestic Sentinel oak tree in 1997. After our move to Rawson, I became severely depressed. One day I saw this bigger-than-life tree-of-life standing boldly in a field off the highway. The prominent and imposing beauty of it gave me hope. It reminded me that this massive tree was once a tiny seed. I believed if I buried God's Word deep in my heart I would see His Promises unfold. They have. God is faithful. Right now I'm looking at a framed picture of the Sentinel Oak my husband gifted me a few years ago, knowing it played a part in my recovery. It still gives me hope. And even though the physical tree is being removed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)
Jim Hankenhof - Toledo, Ohio It all started in 1978, and I was 18 years old. As I was moving to Florida, I noticed this majestic oak tree along I-75 just south of Findlay. It was one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. As a young carpenter, (and son of a master carpenter), I already had an appreciation for nature, and all things wood, especially oak trees. As I traveled back and forth between Florida and Toledo, I looked forward to seeing this tree as my guidepost. It was my “almost home” marker.
Later, throughout the years, as my family grew and we traveled this highway, I would always point out this old majestic tree and called it “My Mighty Oak”. At times, we would stop along the highway to get a picture of “My Tree” and me. I always wanted to get closer to the tree but didn’t know how to do so without climbing the fence and walking through the farmer’s field of crops.
As I gazed at the outstretched branches, I would often wonder how this tree came to be the single survivor surrounded by acres of farmland along a major highway. My mind took me back in time, hundreds of years, imagining the farmer clearing his land and leaving this mighty oak as a place of respite under the shade of its broad canopy.
Then one day, forty years later, while visiting my wife’s cousin and her husband (Therese & Mark Meyer), I saw a picture of this mighty oak on their dining room wall. I recognized it INSTANTLY. It was like seeing an old friend. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was THEIR tree on THEIR farmland! I finally got that chance to get closer to the Mighty Oak Tree. I could not even begin to wrap my arms around the 32-foot circumference! Standing under its branches, I am in awe of God’s creation. Soon this tree will be harvested, and I look forward to working with the wood of this tree to create a lasting remembrance in my home.
Kathy Grine - Hello, I had two of my brothers’ text telling me that "my tree" had been taken down over this past weekend. I knew he had not been feeling well. I have 4 seasons’ pictures blown up and framed hanging on my family room wall in Fostoria. I took those pics when I was still living at home (in Lima) and commuting to the east side of Findlay to work. That was back in 1993 or 1994'ish. They have been the focal point of my family room since 2008, soon after we added on the family room. I'm so glad to know how many other people appreciated how beautiful and symmetrical my tree was! Great Story in the Courier!
Renne Smith - Ever since I was a young child I have loved that tree…This Tree is one that I have always enjoyed seeing. I am so very serious to have a cookie cut and one branch raw edge plank.
JoEllen Boren - I just happened to glance at the front page of the Saturday February 20th Courier and said "That's my tree!" and my heart sank a little because I had just felt that something had happened to it. I live in Findlay, but travelling down the highway every weekend of every summer for the last 5 years, en route to camp in Bluffton, I would always smile and say "there's my tree", and think about the history and wonder what lucky family had the honor of looking out their window and seeing that massive, beautiful thing. Or, better still, OWN IT! It's so sad to know it won't be standing there when I round the corner of the highway there, but I will still smile, knowing it existed, held memories of its own, and was cared for by people who respected it. And what a relief to know that it meant just as much to others as it did to me. Thank you!
Julie Breitigam - As I looked at the front page of the newspaper this morning, I quickly blurted out, “They cut down my tree!!” I had been mesmerized by this tree for so many years. I feel very fortunate to have taken some black & white photos of this stately beauty, many years ago. Thank you for sharing this story for those of us who have adored its beauty over the years!
Cindy Mullennax-Logsdon - I live in Findlay and travel I-75 several times a year. For as long as I can remember, I have always slowed down to look at the Old Oak. I have always mentioned to my family how this tree has survived over the hundreds of years. Clearing land for farming, wind storms and tornadoes and building I-75. I always admired the farmers who kept it standing. I always wanted to stop and get a picture but always said next trip. (I will keep the Couriers article in my memory book.) Thank you for the story and loving this tree.
Erin Rinto -My husband and I moved from eastern Ohio to Lima in 2006. I am from Toledo so we traveled I-75 frequently, and of course I noticed your tree. I must say it was the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen. We moved to Monclova in 2013, and I added several “Trees of Life” like your mighty oak to our home. As the years have passed, each time we drove the corridor between Toledo and Lima, I looked for that tree. Sadly, I noticed that half of the tree had died this past year, and found it so fitting for 2020. Thank you for sharing your story. I will miss it on my southern journeys.
Brian Lane - I saw this tree every day on my route and I watched as it came down.
Mike DeWeese - Great story on the big white oak!! We could see the tree from our house on CR9.
Heather Hunt - This has been my “favorite” tree for years. I was so glad to read you are making things from it. It was so spectacular.
Thomas Wayne Brown - Having seen so many trees die in my life time, Elms from the Dutch Elm disease, Ash from the Emerald Ash Borer. It is sad to see this Oak landmark come down. But I do understand it’s at the end of a long, long life. Traveling I-75, I have noticed this tree for many years and just recently came by when I seen a Woman and Children out in the field in front of the tree. Must have been when you were taking photos. Thank you for the article on this tree. If the age is correct, it was growing before Ohio was a State!!
Dave Morgan, Findlay OH - I have noticed this tree for the past 50 years. I have always felt it had to be there during the Civil War. I am so thankful for the article about it in the Findlay Courier. It confirms how many people noticed this huge tree standing in a farm field. I always felt the owners left it there for a purpose.
Jenny Kirtley Evans - This tree was my constant on my everyday commute to work. I have to admit I was crushed when I saw it was gone, but glad to hear the story!
Scott Anderson - I observed this tree for decades on weekly drives from Findlay, OH to Lima, OH and always thought it was the finest tree in Hancock County. Looking forward to the lumber that will be produced from this unique specimen.
Courtney McClintock - I would love details on the lumber that will be available from this wonderful tree. I would always admire its breath-taking beauty and thank God for his amazing creation on my drive to and from visiting my family down in Wapakoneta. I'm so sad to see it gone but I would love to pass down a piece of it to my children.
Heather Chan - My husband grew up in Bluffton. I moved to Findlay in 2003 to attend UF, where we met. Since we started dating, any road trip on I-75 always included him mentioning his “favorite tree.” We admired it on every trip, and I even made him a valentine picturing the Sentinel Oak that said “you’re my favorite.” While we dated, I moved to Cincinnati for a few years for grad school. The three hour drives on the weekend were long, but seeing the Sentinel Oak on my trips back to Findlay was always the mile marker to know that I was home. It’s always been a reminder of love and anticipation for us.
Admittedly, I shed a few tears looking at your website this week. But then, through the same the lens of love and anticipation, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:16-17: “...Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of this story.
Ron Elliot - Very nice tribute to a tree that obviously touched and impacted a very lot of people! And these stories are just from current folks ... imagine how many more were equally affected in the previous century(ies). We have an awesome God! I love your web-site, thank you for your effort in putting this together.
Danielle Manely – My Tree - I realize now after seeing this page it is not "my tree" as I so 'enduringly' state as I pass on our travels back and forth to and from Michigan and Indiana. I first noticed this tree as I dated my now husband in 2014 when I would visit him long distance. It instantly became my most loved tree I'd ever seen - A highlight to watch out for off the freeway. I snapped many pictures through the years but one became frame worthy and awaits its special spot on the wall. Especially now that I see the impact this special soul had on so many, it will never be forgotten. Hoping we will be able to retrieve a piece of it to be put with our picture we have.
Brad M. Lennex - On a recent trip up I-75 I sad to see that the beautiful tree had died and has been cut down. I wonder how many travelers, like myself, have waited to see that beautiful Oak on the east side of I-75 as an ever present sign that we’re nearing home. The word majestic comes to mind. You all are doing a great thing with this site!
Allison Mendenhall - I can't put into words the way you touched my soul. I cried the day I drove up 75 and saw a person in the field in their pickup for I knew then what I had been trying to deny that you were sick and your days were numbered. A life well lived and the stories and history you could have told if you had had a voice.
Timothy Kent Bechtol - I recently lost a dear old friend. A friend who could speak to me without words. A friend who was always there waiting for me at the edge of town when I came home after a long trip away. A noble & majestic friend who sheltered animals and enjoyed the fresh country air. This friend had seen many changes come over the landscape of NW Ohio over a lifetime . . . a lifetime that spanned longer than the full age of our nation.
In 2005 I took a pilgrimage out once a month to see my friend. I recorded each visit with these photos. Over the years I grew to love my friend, despite its random minor imperfections which only gave it more character. Although I realize that my friend's health had failed severely over the past few years, I am still sad to see it go.
1571 - 1721 - An acorn found fertile soil
2019 - Partial Leafing of tree
2020 - 1/2 of the tree did not leaf out. An arborist was consulted and said that the tree could stand and slowly rot or be cut down for lumber.
2021 - ODNR and several professional tree cutters were consulted.
2021 - The Sentinel Oak is scheduled to be cut down on February 19th.
2022 - Lumber will be seasoned and ready to go into kiln
2022 - Kiln dried lumber will be available for purchase. To continue the Sentinel Oak's legacy in live edge tabletops, counters, coat racks, cutting boards, bowls, ornaments, and other furniture and decor that can last 100-1000 more years. We also know an Amish builder who can make pretty much anything you can imagine. We are excited to watch and help YOU create or design with this wood!