Coast Redwoods and Hiker

Crannell Creek Giant | Lindsey Creek Giant Redwood

Crannell redwood | Largest ever documented with photo

Continued from: Coast Redwoods

Page written by Mario D. Vaden ~ 2010

The image below is apparently the only known photograph of Crannell Creek Giant coast redwood. This was sent 02/14/2010 by Michael Taylor. The Crannell Creek redwood was about 17% larger than the 52,584 cubic foot General Sherman giant sequoia. The Crannell Creek Giant remains the largest redwood ever with both photographic and written measurement documentation. Unless photographs show up for a redwood like the Lindsey Creek redwood or other unknown.


Crannell Creek Giant Coast Redwood aka Maple Creek redwood and Captain Elam redwood

Image: Crannell Creek Giant, used with permission from Blue Lake Museum, 330 Railroad Avenue Blue Lake, CA 95525: artifacts and history of railroads, logging, timber industries and local history.

Comparing recent largest redwoods to historical records, others were much larger than known Giant Sequoia. Prior to 1800s & 1900s logging, coast redwoods were the largest. Another was the Lindsey Creek redwood with a reported trunk of 90,000 cubic feet: 3,248 tons, which fell during a 1905 storm: 6,496,000 pounds. The Lindsey Creek redwood was written about in a 1905 Humboldt Times Standard article: retaining a gigantic 19' diameter 130' above ground level.

Then there is the report of a 70,000 cubic foot redwood logged in 1926: the Crannell Creek Giant. Michael Taylor added entry for Crannell Giant, aka the Captain Elam or Maple Creek redwood, at his website, with info from Lumberman Magazine, October 1926, page 109. It was actually 61,573 ft³, 21' diameter, over 18' diameter at 100' high, and over 15' diameter at 200' high. Total height was 308 feet tall.

Outside Bark    
Height (feet) Diameter (feet) Volume (cubic feet)
0 21.5 1730.8
5 20.47 5300.8
21.4 20.1 5106.3
37.8 19.72 4915.4
54.2 19.35 4728.2
70.6 18.97 4544.6
87 18.6 4364.6
103.4 18.22 4188.3
119.8 17.84 3910.1
136.2 17.0 3660.6
152.6 16.72 3478.7
169 16.15 3245.2
185.4 15.59 3018.9
201.8 15.03 2872.2
218.2 14.84 2695
234.6 14.09 3813.6
308 0 0
    Total Volume 61,573 cubic feet

The data apparently excludes the trunk or reiterated stems above 234.6' high. That means the actual wood volume was greater than 61,573 cubic feet. So reports of 70,000 cubic feet are in the ball park.

A cookie of Crannell Giant is (or was) the entire north wall of a One Log House or "The Stump House" in Eureka, California. A sign mentioned origin from the Maple Creek redwood near Crannell: a 308 foot redwood.

Museum artifacts include a letter about Crannell Creek redwood and Captain Elam, written by a Professor Emanuel Fritz (University of California, Berkley). Read more about Frizt below. The letter states that the tree was measured by A. E. Elam (Captain Elam), one of the "best redwood timber cruisers". According to Michael Taylor, the senior curator of the Blue Lake Museum said that Emanuel Fritz is the man in the center of the photograph below. Taylor also remembered the photo from around 1989, when it was displayed with a caption including Professor Fritz as one of the men next to this champion coast redwood.

The Captain Elam is probably forest engineer Captain A. W. Elam, shown in a September 1924 photograph taken by Major David T. Mason on trail leading from Little River: in a special collection held by Humboldt State University. Elam Creek in Redwood National Park shares the same name.

Some extra information about Professor Emanuel Fritz who wrote the letter about the Crannell Creek redwood and Captain Elam:

Emanuel Fritz, Professor Emeritus of Forestry, 1886 to 1988. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Cornell mechanical engineering 1908 and taught engineering at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute until 1912. He turned to forestry and earned a master of forestry from Yale University 1914. After working state forestry in New Hampshire, he joined the U.S. Forest Service 1915, working in Montana and then Arizona. During World War I he served in the army in France with aircraft maintenance: reaching the rank of captain. In 1919 he joined the UC faculty at Berkeley as Assistant Professor of Forestry.

For most of the following seven decades he was a major figure in California forestry. He was editor of the Journal of Forestry in the early 1930s and served as a member of the Council for the Society of American Foresters. As a consultant to a legislative interim committee in 1943-45 he was a mover in the strengthening state forestry in California. For years he served as consultant to the California Redwood Association and councilor to the Save-the-Redwoods League. He was the founder of the Redwood Region Logging Conference and served as its manager for 22 years. In 1950 he was promoted to Professor of Forestry. Fritz was an active member of the Bohemian Club and participated regularly in the Club's encampments, deliberately using the Club as a means for educating influential people of the state and the nation about redwoods and forestry. He was a member of the forestry faculty for 70 of the 75 years of forestry education at Berkeley.