Common Name: chinkapin oak
Scientific Name: Quercus muehlenbergii
Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia
Database ID: 176
National Champion: yes
Virginia Champion: yes
Circumference: 287 in.
Height: 66 ft.
Crown: 113 ft.
Date Last Measured: 2018
Last Measured by: Eric Wiseman
Date First Measured: 1990
Comments: Declared national champion in 2019. In 2020, it was national co-champion with a tree in Ohio. Edward Strickler, Sr. (1917-2014) was very proud of the tree. There is a commemoration plaque at the tree erected on Mr. Strickler's 96th birthday in 2013. The tree is in very good health and appears structurally stable. It gets quite a bit of foot traffic around its base due to the interest of visitors. Hopefully it can tolerate this love. Also, a sycamore located to the northwest is starting to encroach on its crown. Would be nice to see some crown reduction pruning performed on the sycamore to minimize its competition.
The tree was a challenge to measure given its location on a steep slope and inaccessibility of the crown over the river. To measure the trunk, a mid-slope position was established on its northeast side. There it was measured at 4.5' above the ground line, just above a large burl. The crown was measured using a missing line routine whereby the distance and direction is measured to points on opposite sides of the crown from a fixed position and then the Law of Cosines is used to calculate the crown spread.
Some more history about the tree as shared by the current landowner Edward Strickler, Jr.:
•Edward Strickler, Sr. obituary - https://www.kygers.com/obituary/5082159.
•The current landowner's grandfather, T.J. Strickler (T.J. for 'Thomas Jefferson'; grandfather legally changed his name to that in admiration for the original one) used to call the tree a 'water oak'. Grandfather Strickler was retired from the C&O railroad, and a relaxed farmer, who would (almost) daily go fishing at the river. Current owner remembers many times helping clean fish, and eat them, as grandmother deliciously seasoned and fried them. Mother would too, so must include her.
•The tree is near the site of a mill owned by the current landowner's great grandfather: J. A. Davis. The seat of the river race (the construction leading some force of the river into the mill) is just beyond the parking area of the rental cabin. The mill - one of two on the river - produced various milled grain products, including 'White Rose' flour. The old house where great grandfather Davis and family lived is about a mile from the mill.
•Strickler Sr. reported that many immersion baptisms took place there because of the shade of the tree, the comparatively easy access to the river, and the overall beauty of the spot.
•There is a persisting story of a cannonball in the tree. Current owner thinks this not likely because he's not sure that General Jackson's Valley campaign fired artillery there. But there was at some times a polled ferry, and/or wagon crossing, at that site on the river. Strickler Sr. spoke of a 'swinging bridge for foot traffic and a flat bottom barge that ferried wagons and horses across' at the site of the tree.
•Another local story is that the eventually famous Patsy Cline - as a child - would visit there. And that seems likely since the Cline/Kline family has property above the river.
Location of Tree
Tree is located in: Rockingham
Land Owner: Edward L. Strickler Jr.
GPS Coordinates: 38.38055, -78.67174
Owner Email: email@example.com
Directions: It is located off of Route 33E at Massanutten. If you are going East on 33, make a right onto Mt. Olivet Church Road at the intersection of 33 and Mt. Olivet Ch. Road. (You would make a left if you were going to Massanutten). Go 2 miles and the Road ends. Take a left onto Waterloo Mill Lane and go about 500 ft. The tree is on the right of the road on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.
Owner Address: 104 Russell's Way
Farmville, VA 23901
Owner Phone: 434-953-5339
Contact Name: Edward Strickler
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: 434-953-5339
Original Nominator(s): Thomas S. Holland