On October 5, 2012, the sycamore tree received it's official declaration as a historical and Legendary tree in the state of Tennessee.
Through the research, the legend was proven to be fact that the small four year old Center boy planted the sapling that grew into the magnificent tree that we enjoy today! It was deemed a historical tree because many prominent figures traveled by the tree on their way through the area. The legend also reports that prayers and marriage vows spoken under the tree, go straight to heaven.
In 1864, Hugh Center, son of Thomas Center, planted a small sycamore tree switch he harvested from the shore along Daddy's Creek near his father's home. The Center home was on the corner of, what is now, Westchester Road and Chestnut Hill Road in Cumberland County. This area is near the old Walton Road which ran from Crab Orchard, north of Crossville, up towards Standing Stone. It was started in 1705. Several famous people traveled the road including Duke Louis Phillip, later becoming the King of France. We believe the Center home became a frequent stopping place for travelers heading west.
The Center homestead was built around 1859 and the local school and chapel were built a short time later. Over fifteen families regularly used the chapel and numerous circuit riding Preachers held services at the facility.
The Southern Colonial style home was striking for the time period. It was one of two houses in the United States with those unique architectural features until it was demolished in 1990. In 1996, the Fairfield Glade Homecoming Committee planned to place the Center House on the National Register of Historical Homes. Thomas Center was the first Cumberland County School Superintendent and a notary public for the area. He was a community leader that helped open up middle Tennessee to civilization. Many of the Center relatives still live in the immediate area and the family cemetery adjacent to the property is still active.
Today the Sycamore tree is a landmark at Wildwood Stables and is the subject of numerous artists, photographers and tourists who marvel at the tree's history and giant size. It serves as inspiration to all our visitors from school children having their class picture around the trunk, to newlyweds pledging their eternal love, to seniors reminiscing about good times.
On a sunny spring day, a Ferrier spoke at the first Cowboy Church held at Wildwood Stables and asked a simple question. "Do you think this magnificent 148 year old tree knew when it was planted that its branches would serve as a canopy for shade in the summer, be a color pallet in the fall, protect the land in the winter and welcome a new year in the spring?"
The sycamore tree measures 96 ft. high, 165 ft. crown spread and the trunk is 16 ft. around. The tree is sound and healthy.