Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

What happened to the wood of the Avery Oak tree?

The Avery Oak tree. (Image via Mark Holden, who turned a portion of the Avery Oak into a beautiful wooden box)

After learning that the Avery Oak tree had been turned into a gavel after a thunderstorm knocked it down in July 1973, The Five-Year-Old asked perplexedly: “Why would they make a gavel out of it? Why not a historical coaster?”

Although I was unable to determine whether or not a historical coaster was ever made out of the wood of the Avery Oak tree, I did find this beautiful picture of the Avery Oak tree on Mark Holden’s website. Holden had been commissioned by a friend of a friend to turn a portion of the fallen tree into a beautiful wooden box, and found himself interested in the origins of the materials he was working with.

My brief Google search also revealed that the Dedham Historical Society owns a chair made from the Avery Oak tree

Update: In May 2019, Johanna McBrien added a comment to this post to let me know that the Dedham Historical Society actually has quite a lot of information on the Avery Oak available to share with folks curious about this piece of Dedham history. In addition to the chair, the historical society owns both the gavel made from the Avery Oak and the land on which it stood. The Society also takes care of the new oak tree that replaced the original Avery Oak. You can find the Dedham Historical Society in Dedham Center between the post office and police station at 612 High Street. Thanks for letting me know, Johanna!

That brings the tally of objects known to have been made from the tree to one gavel, one box, and one chair. According to the “Avery Oak – gone but not forgotten” article on the Dedham Public Library’s website, several unidentified Dedham residents collected bits and pieces of the oak tree to save as mementos. The Five-Year-Old and I remain hopeful that an authentic Avery Oak historical coaster exists somewhere.

Related Links:

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2 Responses to “What happened to the wood of the Avery Oak tree?”

  1. Johanna McBrien

    Thank you for this post. It would be terrific if the link to the Dedham Historical Society & Museum went to the Society’s website,, rather than to the library’s website. Also, the Dedham Historical Society has extensive collections of material related to the Avery Oak and other Dedham history—and owns the gavel and the land on which the original Avery Oak stook and owns and maintains the new oak that replaced the original. Thank you for your post and for updating the information.


    • Shala Howell

      Thanks for writing to let me know, Johanna! I’ve updated the post.

      The Historical Society doesn’t happen to have historical Avery Oak coasters, do they? Inquiring daughters want to know. ๐Ÿ˜‰



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