Early Irish Immigrant Plants Cypress Tree in Bandon, Ore.

Oct 1, 2013

A more than 100-year-old Monterey cypress tree known as the Baldwin cypress graces Ocean Drive in Bandon, Ore. The tree got its name from an Irish immigrant, Henry Hewitt Baldwin, who came to the United States from Bandon, Ireland, in 1846. He joined the army in 1849 and after his military service settled in the Coquille Valley.

Baldwin wrote about his new home to friends back in Ireland, including George “Lord” Bennett, who emigrated in 1873 and gave the name “Bandon” to the settlement at the mouth of the Coquille River. The city was incorporated in 1891.

Baldwin retired to a house above the ocean where he is believed to have planted the cypress in 1896. The tree, with four trunks or stems, has survived winter storms, the 1936 Bandon fire, and today straddles private land a city street right-of-way.

Three community groups sought unsuccessfully recently to have the tree recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tree. The city passed an ordinance in 2005 protecting its cypress trees, including the Baldwin.

Henry Baldwin is buried in Bandon’s Averill Pioneer Cemetery, as is George Bennett, who died in 1900.

Sources: Acklin, Carol. Welcome to Bandon. Bandon, Ore.: Ned Reed Publ., 2005. Print; Proehl, Jim. Bandon Western World 6 May 2012 [Bandon, Ore.]. Print.