Photo by Craig English

Looking Back 4/19

Centuries ago, the Appalachians, including this area, was home to an abundance of chestnut trees. In their habitats, chestnut trees constituted one out of every four trees.

Today, the American chestnut has disappeared. How did these majestic trees go from being a vital element of the landscape to a nearly eradicated species?

In the early 1900s, a Chinese chestnut tree was imported that carried with it a blight. Transported by wind and birds, the blight killed over 99% of the American chestnut tree population.

Unfortunately, the blight will remain in Eastern soil forever, causing any sprouting chestnut trees to die at an early age. However, a very few mature chestnuts remain. The tree pictured, found in Long Eddy, may be one of the survivors (although it also might be a resistant hybrid or European chestnut.)

The Basket Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Upper Delaware area. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more contact us at


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