Sequoia High School Campus Features
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1. "The Chained Oak" (Quercus lobata) - Near the El Camino Gate to the right as you enter the grounds stands an old valley oak. A eucalyptus tree planted in the middle of the 19th century grew to overtop it. The winds of winter tossed the old oak and the rains loosened its aged roots until it nearly gave way. Tree lovers forged a chain to save it and attached it to the nearby eucalyptus tree. The chain is long gone but the band about the tree is still there to be seen.
2. Monkey-Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana) - In the corner of the campus near the intersection of James Avenue and El Camino Real are two of these bizarre-looking evergreens. Native to Chile and Argentina, the name of the tree was derived from a comment made from an Englishman in the 1800s, who thought it would certainly be a puzzle for a monkey to climb, although there are no monkeys native to the area in which the tree is indigenous.
3. Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) - Flanking the formal garden across the main drive from the bell tower are two Canary Island date palms. They originate in the naturally wet areas in the drier parts of the Canary Islands.
4. Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) - Growing near the date palms is a taller Mexican fan palm. This came to us from the southern desert hills of Mexico. The color and moods of the Yaqui Indian, and the mysterious highlands and desert stretches of Sonora are still reflected in its crown
5. "Giant Eucalyptus" (Eucalyptus globulus) - Shading the walks and arches of the classic Carrington Hall Auditorium, stands a stately and gigantic eucalyptus. Its bark, tinted with pastel colors of soft blues and grays and faint vermillion; its spreading oak-like branches; its thin silvery foliage, filtering the rays of the sun or moon, makes it stand as the most romantic figure on Sequoias campus.
6. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) - To the right of the pathway leading to the Carrington Hall Auditorium stands this deciduous conifer, native to central China. The species was introduced to the United States and Europe around 1948. It is one of the few cone-bearing deciduous trees. The needles are bright green, about ½" long and are soft, changing to a bright copper color in the fall.
7. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron gigantean) - Near the Dawn Redwood are two large giant sequoia.
8. Coast Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirons) - Between the Music Building and Brewster Avenue stands an old and beautiful example of the tree used as a model for the Sequoia Seal.
9. Prickly Paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides) - Across the roadway from the Giant Sequoia are two unusually large Prickly Paperbarks.
10. Australian Tea Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) - On the same side of the roadway heading back in the direction of the bell tower is a fine old specimen of an Australian Tea tree. It is native to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania. Fifteen foot tall continuous masses of this tree have been seen on the coast of Tasmania, but this specimen is typical of single plants, in that it has formed a contorted, twisted, horizontal trunk. Captain Cook used the foliage of this shrub to brew a tea which prevented scurvy in his crew, hence the name tea-tree. This could certainly date back to 1900 or before.
11. Deodara Cedar (Cedrus deodara) - Across the main driveway from the bell tower and to the left of the tower entrance, came two of our most beautiful cedars from the slopes of the mighty Himalayan Mountains. The drooping branches remind us of the pagodas of their native India.
12. Atlas Cedar (Cedrus Atlantica glauca) - In between the two Cedrus Deodaras, across the main driveway from bell tower, is another one of our stately cedars. This came to us from the slopes of the Atlas Mountains of Africa.
13. Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) - To the right of the entry to the main school building is this very old specimen of an Incense Cedar, although it is probably no older than the school.
14. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) - Just in front of the main school building across the walkway is a stand of Lawson Cypress. Note that this is not a true cypress. This tree has four trunks but each of the four is an old branch lying on the ground and rooted and now producing a vertical trunk. It requires many years for a Lawson cypress to achieve this structure. This tree could predate the 1920's.
15. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) - Across the roadway from the multi-purpose room is a fine, very old specimen.
16. "Cherokee's Brothers" - along one of the pathways in the Japanese Tea Garden, formerly the "Garden of Cherokee", are four Guadalupe Palms (Brahea edulis) originating from Guadalupe Island off the west coast of Mexico, known historically as "Cherokee's Brothers". Sequoia legend has it that a gnarled Oak that once stood in the center of the garden was once a young Indian chief, the lover of Cherokee, a beautiful Indian Maiden who spent her girlhood gathering together the treasures of nature that are found there. He helped her by building the little rustic paths. Until her death, which was indirectly caused by her lover picking the flowers of the Great Spirit, the red Geums, Cherokee's own hands cared for the garden.
Friends and loved ones of the two came to mourn and the Great Spirit took such
pity on them that he changed them into trees and plants. Cherokee's mother was a
beautiful Madrone that once stood in the garden. Close to the Madrone once stood
a tall Drecena, Cherokee's father. The young chief's warriors were changed into
sturdy Agaves, also gone. All that remains are Cherokee's brothers.
17. Korean War Dogs - In the Japanese Tea Garden, are two big, metal Korean War Dogs, given to the school district by the Japanese government. Accounts differ as to the history of the statues. A special history edition of the Sequoia Times states that the statues, "Kina Inu," as they are called, were gifts from the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition of 1939-40. However, a San Francisco Examiner story, written by a Frank Raymond of Redwood City, states the statues graced the Japanese exhibit at the San Francisco's 1915 Pan American Exposition. The later version jibes with the memory of former Vice Principal, Ruth Olds, who remembered the Korean War Dogs being in the Tea Garden when she was a student in 1928-31.
17. Ginkgo Trees (Ginkgo biloba) - In the western portion of the Japanese Tea Garden are two fine old Ginkgo trees. Described as a "living fossil", the Ginkgo tree, native to China, dates back 150 million years. This slow growing tree is not only ornamental, but a pollution fighter as well. The leaves are used as a health aid.
18. Kentucky Coffee Trees (Gymnocladus dioica) - Next in the Japanese Tea Garden are four old Kentucky Coffee trees. There are very few of these in California. The seeds in its rubbery reddish-brown pods were once roasted by Native Americans and ground as a coffee substitute by early European settlers. Native Americans also used the powdered roots as "smelling salts" to help recuperate patients.
Sources: The Cherokee Manual, Sequoia Union High School, Second Edition, 1930 and Third Edition, 1941 (A handbook for Sequoians published by the Associated Students of Sequoia Union High School)
Commentary On Historical Trees at Sequoia High School, Redwood City, prepared at the request of the Sequoia High School Alumni Association - Site Visit, December 5, 2002, Barrie D. Coate and Associates, Horticultural Consultants - Consulting Arborists, 23535 Summit Road, Los Gatos, CA 95033 (ISA Certified Arborist #0586)
Sequoia's Historic Tea Garden, Otto Tallent, Redwood City Tribune, June 26, 1971