Let Freedom Rock
As many of you will remember from high school U.S. History class, the Liberty Trees played a very important role in the American Revolution and the founding of our country. And thanks to Taylor Guitars, the sweet sound of Liberty will ring forever. The original Liberty Tree was a famous elm that stood in Boston near Boston Commons.
In 1765, the tree was the site of the first act of defiance against the British Government. In August of 1765, a crowd gathered under this mighty elm to protest the hated stamp act. The Patriots hung in effigy, Andrew Oliver who was chosen to impose the stamp act on the colonists. This public showing of defiance truly spawned the resistance to the Crown and was the birth of the American Revolution.
This original Liberty Tree in Boston was actually cut down in an act of spite by the British forces. This act only further enraged the Patriots. The Liberty Tree had now become the symbol of the “Spirit of Liberty”. As word spread about the happenings in Boston, the other colonies designated their own Liberty Trees. Some colonies actually erecting Liberty Poles in the town centers.
Under these trees, the colonists gathered to protest the stamp act and hold public meetings. The colonists also started formulating a game plan to break from British Rule. The trees were all lost over time, some were cut down by the British during the war.
One tree stood the test of time. This was the tree in Annapolis Maryland. This tree stood on the campus known now, as St. John’s College. The tree stood strong until 1999. (St. Johns was the Alma matter of Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner.)
During the war, the British cut down a number of the Liberty Trees because these trees had become the emblem of the American Rebellion. But since the British never occupied Annapolis, this majestic Liberty Tree would become the oldest living survivor of the Revolutionary era. This tree was a beast. It had weathered many storms and hurricanes over the decades. In 1840, a few school kids exploded 2 pounds of gun powder in a hollow in the tree. The tree caught fire, and the force from the explosion knocked off every leave on the tree. Most felt the tree was lost for good, but the next year, the tree put out lush new growth.
In the early 1900’s steel rods were inserted into the trunk and cables were added for support. They poured over 50 tons of concrete into the core, all in an attempt to keep this national landmark alive.
Fast forward to 1999, when Hurricane Floyd blew through Annapolis causing widespread damage. Winds were clocked at 155mph. The force of the winds produced a very large crack in the tree. All the experts were summoned. After much discussion and research, it was decided that the time had come to bring the mighty tree down. It posed too much of a safety risk on the college campus.
The tree was estimated to around 425 years old. It was a monument to our Independence for 223 years. It stood almost 100 feet high, had a circumference of 27 feet at the trunk.
On Oct 25th, 1999 a solemn ceremony was held to bid farewell. Once the crowds left, they began the 4 day process of removing the tree. Surprisingly, the remnants of the tree were unceremoniously taken to local landfills. A local landscaper, Mark Menhert, who read about the tree’s demise in a local paper, decide to stop by the area and observe the process of taking down a VERY large tree. He actually followed the work trucks to see what was going to happen with these bits and pieces of America’s history. To his surprise, they were transporting the wood to a local landfill and were planning on making mulch of these chunks of historic wood. He felt that this just wasn’t a proper burial for such a historic tree.
Mr. Menhart then made arrangements to have his own employees and equipment haul many tons of wood to his climate controlled warehouse to store it until he could come up with some ideas on how the preserve the memory of the tree.
After a year of expensive transportation, curing, and storage of the wood, the landscaper decided to contact Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars to see if he might have some interest in the wood for building guitars. It is rumored that Bob paid around $100,000 for the wood.
At Tobias Music, we are known for our premium level guitar sales and we have been a dealer for Taylor Guitars for many years. Taylor Guitars are a leading manufacturer of premium level guitars and they are based outside of San Diego. The company was founded by Bob Taylor and Bob is considered to be the father of the modern guitar industry. His manufacturing innovations are used worldwide and his guitars are the top selling premium level brand in the world. We have been a Taylor Guitar dealer for over 33 years. We are one of their original dealers, and we are also one of their top dealers in the country.
Bob Taylor is a brilliant man who is very focused on wood conservation and he has taught the modern guitar industry how to build guitars with responsibly harvested wood. This is a very important mission for guitar builders worldwide. Our forests are running out of trees. And Taylor’s efforts today will help secure the resources for future generations of guitar building.
Taylor Guitars are famous for using exotic responsibly harvested woods for their guitars. Over the years, Bob has been quoted as saying that he “Loves Wood with a Story Behind it.” What better story than the founding of our country and the American Revolution.
Bob Taylor, along with his team of guitar designers, spent many months deciding on how pay tribute to our Independence. They came up with the plan to produce around 400 of these museum quality guitars. Bob built these guitars to “Pay homage to the symbols of our past and the tenants of the future”.
The first run of Liberty Trees guitars were Grand Concert size with very elaborate inlay. After this run of guitars was finished, Taylor had some smaller pieces left over. The decision was made to build a short run of Baby Liberty Tree guitars. With the last remaining sets of wood, Taylor produced 50 Liberty Tree T5’s. These guitars were designated one for each state in the Union. The first T5 to come off the assembly line was designated for Delaware, as Delaware was the first state to join the Union. We were fortunate enough to acquire #21, the Illinois T5. Illinois was the 21st state to join the Union.
At Tobias Music, we display these guitars on the National Holidays. Though stored off-site, we are happy to bring them down to the shop if anyone were to want a private showing.
These guitars will be on display during the 4th of July weekend. If you are interested in a private showing, please contact us for arrangements.