The Pioneer Cabin Tree, an instantly recognizable attraction at California's Calaveras Big Trees State Park to drive through a tree, was one of the . Unfortunately, this century-old tree has collapsed after facing tough winter conditions.
The tree became a tourist attraction in the 1880's by its original owners. The owners of the then-redwood grove defaced multiple trees with the hopes of gaining some international renown, from environmentalist John Muir. But the Pioneer Cabin Tree, capable of fitting people and horse-drawn carriages through its roots, stuck. Photos from the period show visitors in awe of the massive tree.
The land was declared a state park in 1931, and the Pioneer Cabin Tree, also known as the Tunnel Tree, became the park's defining landmark. However, this famous tree was already suffering through serious health issues. "It was barely alive," park volunteer Joan Allday the San Francisco Chronicle, with "one branch alive at the top."
While there's no definitive cause for the tree's collapse, it's assumed that the tree had been severely weakened by the knocking out the core of its trunk. The Huffington Post notes that the park's brochures say that "because of the huge cut, , which you can see lying on the ground if you walk through the tunnel."
Despite the iconic loss, the Calaveras Big Trees Park is still home to hundreds of other perfectly healthy massive redwood trees—you just can't drive through them.