California’s famous ‘drive-thru’ sequoia toppled by storms

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In this May 2015 photo provided by Michael Brown, John and Lesley Ripper pose in the Pioneer Cabin tunnel tree, a giant, centuries-old sequoia that had a tunnel carved into it in the 1880s, during a visit to Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada. The tree came crashing down […]

ARNOLD, Calif. (AP) — A massive storm has toppled a giant California sequoia famous for a “drive-thru” hole carved into its trunk, causing fans of the mighty tree to mourn its loss.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park volunteer Jim Allday says the tree went down Sunday and shattered on impact. He says the once-majestic sequoia is now a heap of rubble.

A tunnel was carved into the tree’s trunk in the 1880s to let tourists pass through. It had allowed cars, but more recently was only crossed on foot.

Generations of locals and tourists have visited the tree for centuries, posing for photos and carving their names into it.

San Francisco Bay area resident Joyce Brown has been visiting the tree since she was 12 and says it feels like she’s lost a family member.

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