The story of the “Four-Legged Tree” in Cedar Falls is fascinating! Planted by John Henning around a century ago, it’s a unique creation formed by grafting linden tree saplings. Henning, a retired farmer from Germany, was inspired by the archways of lindens he remembered from Berlin. To recreate this, he joined pairs of saplings on each side of a walkway leading to his home.

He started by grafting two trees on the same side of the walk, allowing them to grow tall enough to arch over the path. Later, he grafted the pairs together, creating a single towering trunk from the original four. However, challenges arose during its growth.

However, this four-legged tree in Cedar Falls experienced significant setbacks. Not long after Mr. Henning started, the front right tree died and was replaced, resulting in a lesser girth in that trunk. Then, in July 2009, a fierce microburst windstorm snapped off much of the main trunk, causing it to fall onto the house. This storm shattered many old, grand trees in the area.

In a Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier story from July 2014, it was reported that the tree “has been significantly diminished since a 2009 storm stripped nearly 60 percent of its upper foliage.” To ensure safety, the damaged part of the tree was removed, leaving the base intact in hopes that the living portion might regenerate and restore the tree’s appearance.

This four-legged tree, situated on the 1800 block of Tremont Street in Cedar Falls, Iowa, holds significant memories for the community. Longtime former Mayor Jon Crews grew up in the house by the tree, recalling his childhood experiences building forts from the tree’s trunks. This personal connection reflects the tree’s importance to the town’s residents and its place within their memories.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here