Tanglewood Park, Clemmons, NC.   Will Blozan
  Nov 11, 2004 13:57 PST 

I measured a big black walnut last week that may be a new NC State Champion.
It grows on the French Broad River near the Biltmore Estate and has the
following dimensions:

Girth     12'7"

Height   82'

Spread 91'

Points   256

A few weeks ago (10/18/04) I measured one of the current state champion
walnuts in Clemmons, NC that had almost the same girth (153") and height
(83') but a shorter spread. Unfortunately, it was struck by lightening and
is in decline. It has a more massive stem and dates to the 1860's.

In fact, at the same site, I have "discovered", via a state employee who
attended my ENTS measuring presentation a few weeks ago for the Forsyth
County Treasure Tree Commission, a very significant site for piedmont
hardwood forests. At the end of my talk I asked if there was a forest or
trees that I could measure since I had some time to spare. Christopher
Weavil, the Certified Grounds Manager for Tanglewood Park responded, and
agreed to lead me to the site. Based on my brief and oh-so-agonizingly-short
time there (I wanted to stay for hours, but couldn't) this site near the
Yadkin River, NC has some VERY impressive trees. Unfortunately, I was only
able to spend less than an hour among a few acres of the nearly 600 wooded
acres they administer. In these few moments I found 3 species over 140' and
the potential for a Rucker Index of 130 or higher.

As mentioned above, the NC State Champion black walnut resides there but
what was most impressive was a huge stocking of large northern red oaks
(Quercus rubra var. rubra) that COMMONLY reached 130' with at least one over
140'. One of the most impressive trees was a forest grown 12'5" white oak
131' tall. As with this tree, the measurement was cursory as I did not have
much time, and may in fact be significantly taller. Arboreally, the site is
extremely diverse, which may be due to alkaline soils, as many indicator
plants were present. Unfortunately, the park is likely overridden with
exotic earthworms, as the very dense and lush herb layer that should be
expected with the canopy tree associates was actually a casting-ridden soil
layer. Christopher indicated severe red oak decline, and I wonder if it
could be associated with the earthworm invasion. Well, now is the time to
collect data before we lose the species if that is the case. I am planning a
winter trip, with no specific date in mind yet, to intensively sample the
grove I saw and other areas on the site. I will need to rely on the eyes and
experience of Christopher and his staff for other locations with older
forests. I need to check into a permit for collecting core samples as well,
if that may be an option.

Here are the few numbers I was able to obtain. Straight up canopy shots with
the laser indicated tuliptrees over 150' and numerous species 130' or more.
The Rucker Index may in act reach the upper 130's, but I choose to be
conservative at this time. I think the southern red oak may be a new eastern
height record.

                        Girth     Height   Spread

White oak         20'1"     92.2'     132'

Black walnut      12'9"     83'        ~60

River birch         9'7"       78.8'

White oak         12'5"     131.1'

N. red oak         10'3"     138.6'

N. red oak         10'+      146'+    roughed out from below- ran out of

Tuliptree(s)        9-13'+   155'+    "           "           "

Sweetgum         8'3"       143.9'

S. red oak         7'10"     127.4'

Numerous hickories (shagbark, pignut, mockernut, bitternut and maybe others)
will likely have comparable heights. Black oaks will too, and shumard and
scarlet likely grow there as well. Shortleaf and loblolly pines looked tall,
and the sycamores by the river may hold some surprises.

Here is some info on the park that I pulled from their website.

Park History

The History of Tanglewood Park

Tanglewood is rich in history, beauty and southern charm. Tanglewood's story
lies not only beneath the surface but can be experienced as an ongoing
living process. The property now known as Tanglewood Park was part of land
claimed by Sr. Walter Raleigh for Queen Elizabeth on March 25, 1584. Among
the earliest European settlers of the Yadkin River Valley was William
Johnson, an immigrant from Wales. In 1757, just four years after the
Moravian settlement of the Wachovia Tract in the nearby communities of
Bethabara and Salem, Johnson purchased the mile square central portion of
the present property from the Ellis family to whom the land was deeded in
1753 by Lord William Linville. The Ellis family leased the land for a short
time "for five shillings lawful money of Great Britain in hand a yearly rent
of one peppercorn payment at he Feast of Saint Michael, the archangel".

After obtaining the property, Johnson built a fort overlooking the Yadkin
River to protect his family and neighbors from attacks during the French and
Indian War. Currently, this spot is marked by a monument just south of the
Manor House. In 1765, he died and is now buried on the highest hill in the
area called Mount Pleasant. In 1809 a simple frame church was erected next
to his grave and remains today as one of the park's architectural
attractions. Although services are no longer held there, many people are
united in marriage at the Mount Pleasant Church each year.

In 1859, James Johnson had the 18 room Manor House built on a hill in the
center of the estate. The house was a gift of love to his daughter, Emily,
for a wedding present. Two wings were added later.

The Johnson heirs sold their property in 1921 to William Neal Reynolds,
brother of tobacco entrepreneur R. J. Reynolds. At that time the Tanglewood
tract was enlarged to over 1,100 acres and the Manor House expanded to 28
rooms. Mr. Will, as he was called, raised and raced thoroughbred harness
horses and established Tanglewood Farm as a home to some of the country's
finest pacers. In the Manor House, Mr. Will had a special room dedicated to
his trophy's, called the "Trophy Room." A fire that started mysteriously in
a trophy room display case in 1980 did considerable damage, but the room has
been restored. The room is surrounded by plaques and horse photographs. It
is obvious that Mr. Will was a horse lover, and this tradition is carried on
with Tanglewood Farm. Trail rides, hayrides, and carriage rides are
available by reservation.

Today, the Manor House is a Bed & Breakfast Inn with 10 guest rooms,
sweeping staircases, the Trophy Room, 20's Room, and Rock Fireplace Room.
These facilities are used for weddings, meetings, and overnight
accommodations. It is rumored that Mr. Will's spirit makes friendly visits
to the house from time to time.

Mr. Will's wife, Kate, a horticultural enthusiast, began the extensive
native and ornamental plantings at Tanglewood and employed German master
gardener, Mr. Frank Lustig, who continued her plans and his life's work. He
contributed the 800 bush Rose Garden on the Manor House lawn, the Arboretum
behind the house, and the nearby Fragrance Garden to the estate. For 60
years, even after the death of his employers, and their gift of the estate,
Lustig poured his talents into Tanglewood. He is buried in the graveyard at
Tanglewood next to the historic church.

In 1951, the Reynolds willed the Tanglewood property to the citizens of
Forsyth County to share as a public recreational park. The couple had no
children. The Reynolds willed the property as a gesture to have others
benefit from the beauty, elegance, history, and recreation their country
estate had to offer. Thus, Tanglewood Park was born. The public recreational
facility is owned by Forsyth County.

The combination of its streams, woodlands and grassy pastures with the
traditions of its architecture, horses, gardening, and wide range of
recreational activities make Tanglewood an ideal countryside park to visit
over and over again. Whether your journey brings you on business or
pleasure, we offer something for everyone.

How Tanglewood Got Its Name

There are several stories on how Tanglewood was named.

One version is that, while strolling through tangled underbrush where timber
had been cleared, the name occurred to Kate Reynolds.

Another version is that the heirs to the Johnson family had noticed the
tangled undergrowth. She read Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
frequently to her children, and named the family farm Tanglewood.
Apparently, Mr. Will asked if the name could be continued after his
possession of the property, and the Johnson heirs said they would be

Both stories are told, no one thus far can prove either one. The reader
should decide which story they prefer to believe.

Kate Reynolds wrote this poem about Tanglewood:

"The seat of creeks and mighty trees,
Of fertile soil and balmy breeze.
Twould fill a page, had I a book,
To tell the joys of Tanglewood!"