Virtually every place in the world has a story to tell. Some stories are factual and based in history, some are rooted in myth and others are shoruded in mystery. I am lucky to live in a place that is full of both. St. Charles Missouri has a rich history, from the Lewis and Clark expedition to Daniel Boone, to being the original state capitol of Missouri. Thanks to the city’s awesome historic district, residents get this feeling that we’re straddling two worlds.
There is every modern convenience here, but the historic district has a decidedly rustic, old-world charm. Brick streets, beautiful churches and quaint homes are commonplace in downtown St. Charles.
While venerable beauty is everywhere in the historic part of town, one item in particular has drawn me in since I first spotted it and that is the Lindenwood Catalpa. Or as I just learned it is known as, thanks to a local coffeehouse that bears its namesake, The Crooked Tree.
This gorgeous tree is located on a busy corner, on the grounds of Lindenwood University. I’ve often seen this beautiful behemoth as I have been on my way to breakfast at our favorite diner or when running errands downtown. Before I ever knew the legend behind this amazing arbor, I was drawn to it. There’s something majestic, noble and utterly peaceful and downright otherworldy about this tree.
Not just because of the sheer size of the tree, but the way it’s growing, it literally looks like the tree is in the midst of a Ustrasana (camel pose) yoga pose. The tree just has an amazing aura to it. I know that sounds crazy, but when I walked up to it to take pictures, I could tell, there was something else there. Add all these factors with the fact that the tree is a catalpa, which I have found memories of calling “string bean trees” in childhood, because of the long, green bean looking pods that hang from its limbs, and you have a recipe for an amazing tree, right?
Well, then I read the legend of said tree and I got goosebumps. Once I read the story I knew then and there I had to write about it.
The legend of this grandiose tree is that a compassionate and great Indian chief was laid to eternal rest beneath it. The tree, distraught by his death, bowed over his grave and has never stood straight again.
I have to say, there’s probably a lot of truth to this legend, as I have said the tree definitely possesses a regal vibe.
That’s the only bit of history I have to share today, but I’ll definitely be posting more about local history in the future. I invite all my readers to get out and discover what myths and legends await you in your city.
*For more about the tree, watch the video below: