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Piece of Council Oak Tree Returns
to UW-Eau Claire Campus

RELEASED: March 4, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — A piece of the Council Oak has returned to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Using wood from the historic tree, art professor Mike Christopherson crafted a bench that was recently installed in the McIntyre library.

For nearly three centuries the Council Oak tree stood on the south lawn of the lower campus of UW-Eau Claire in an area between the current nursing building and the Little Niagara Creek. The large tree served as a shelter, marker and gathering place for generations of Native Americans who lived in the area. During the twentieth-century, generations of students met and studied under the branches of the grand oak tree.

In observance of the university's 50th anniversary in 1966, art professor Kenneth Campbell (who died in 1994) used the image of the Council Oak for the university's new seal. In July 1966, lightning struck the Council Oak and destroyed major branches of the tree. It stood until 1987, when it was blown over during a wind storm.

Christopherson laser-engraved an image of the Council Oak tree on the seat of the bench based on a historic photograph from the University Archives.

"I used this process so viewers could see exactly what the tree looked like before it was hit by lightning," said Christopherson.

The new bench is located in McIntyre library in the southwest corner of the first floor behind the government publications department. Visitors can sit on the bench and look out over Little Niagara Creek at the spot where the Council Oak tree once stood.

The McIntyre Library plans to purchase a plaque and hold a reception later this year celebrating the Council Oak's return to campus and the bench's placement in the library.

For more information, see www.uwec.edu/Library/archives/exhibits/oak.htm.

-30-

KP/NW

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