What Does an Indiana Forest Have to Do With a 220-Year-Old Naval Ship?
I've lived in Indiana my entire life, and today I learned something I never knew before about the Hoosier state. Did you know that there is a chunk of land - about 50,000 acres of oak trees - that is protected and maintained by the United States Navy? Seems kind of strange that the branch of the military known for spending time on the water would have anything to do with a bunch of trees that are more than 700 miles away from the nearest ocean. The story behind this forest is really neat and will serve as your Indiana history lesson for the day. Keep reading, it's pretty friggin' cool.
What is Constitution Grove?
"Constitution Grove" is the name of a 50,000-acre white oak forest located in the town of Crane, Indiana. The land is part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, where their focus is "Harnessing the Power of Technology for the Warfighter. Sounds pretty intense, right? Well, the forest on this base serves a less intense, but no less important purpose - to supply lumber used to refit, restore and maintain the USS Constitution.
What's So Important About the USS Constitution?
The USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is one of six frigates (warships) built for the U.S. Navy back in 1797. She is the only one left and is the oldest commissioned wooden ship in our navy and is still sailing to this day. Those ships were built, mainly, out of white oak.
The amount of white oak trees in America is much smaller than it was in 1797. Luckily, for the USS Constitution, the navy was prepared for this situation and planted their own supply of white oak many, many decades ago. The result is Constitution Grove. With the help of
You can understand why it's so important to maintain this important and beautiful piece of American history.