eventually drowned anyway; however, it makes a good story.
For years in the 50's and 60's there had been talk, and it seemed as though it would come to pass, that there would be a large dam built north and east of Ames and the resulting reservoir would have backed water up enough at times to cover the golf course in Story City. (This would have also covered the flood plain upon which this tree stood and resulted in the death of this point of interest.) When the planning was being done for the interstate in the early 60's, the assumption was that the dam would be completed so the designers moved the interstate to the higher ground to the east to stay out of the flood basin. This caused the construction of a much higher, longer, and costlier bridge over Bear Creek but so be it. It also provided an accommodating location for two restroom facilities and a scenic overlook. Another factor that was considered was the discovery of the possibility of a high flow spring a "half" mile or so north and east of the “H” tree. The flow was estimated to be in the vicinity of 200 gpm and this would have posed a constant threat to the water table and the foundation of the highway.
The tree met its demise in the plague of Dutch Elm Disease of the 1960s and, for a while, efforts were made to retain the integrity of the shape but they too lost the battle of time and the entire shape has tumbled down. During one of these efforts the tops of the trees were cut off, perhaps 35-40 feet high, and when the saw man counted the rings, even at this height, there were more than 200. The remaining skeleton of the tree fell during a July windstorm in 1986.
There is another theory about how the tree fell following its death. Rather than the result of a windstorm, some saw evidence that the tree remnant was pulled down by vandals using a long chain and a four-wheel drive pickup.
On 28 Nov 1999, on the CBS Sunday morning program, “Sunday Morning”, Charles Osgood had some footage of “the wild turkeys of Milford Township, near Ames Iowa”. It appeared to be the thick foliage in Sec 6 in the vicinity of the Pleasant Grove Church.
Ol' Milford Farmer say, “Clean white shirt attracts every bit of gravy at the table.”