Walt Disney's purchase-order for Disneyland's petrified tree

One of the weirdest white-elephants at Disneyland is the petrified tree-stump in Frontierland, which Walt Disney bought after spotting it in Colorado Springs, where resident Jack Baker bought and sold fossils through his company Pike Petrified Forest Fossil. The Colorado Springs Gazette published a scan of Walt Disney's letter to Baker regarding the sale.

Several times over the years I've walked right past it, oblivious to this souvenir of an ancient Colorado forest of giant redwood trees that grew upwards of 35 million years ago in an area we now know as Florissant.

Florissant Fossil BedsBut it's there . . . a 7½-foot-tall, five-ton petrified tree stump taken from what is now the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument west of Divide.

The stump sits in Frontierland near the banks of the Rivers of America across from the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. (I'm being admonished to avoid saying things like: What a goofy place for a petrified tree.)

The stump is all that remains of a tree scientists say stood 200 feet tall amid a sub-tropical forest of giant redwoods obliterated in a cataclysmic volcanic eruption that buried the trees in ash. The region flooded, experienced an algae bloom that created perfect conditions for preserving the trees, as well as insects and plants, scientists say.

Disneyland is a goofy place for a petrified tree from Pikes Peak region
[Bill Vogrin/The Gazette]

(via I Emma Spook)

(Image: Petrified Tree, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from harshlight's photostream)