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The End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia is showing off its 15-foot wood carving etched from a 350-year-old oak tree.
The sculpture depicts a frontiersman holding an ax. Store owner Peter Schaden said he chose the frontiersman because he wanted to represent early settlers that came to Mesopotamia cutting through the trees to create the town.
The idea to sculpt the tree came when after being hit by lighting several times, Schaden decided the tree needed to be removed for safety reasons. He didn’t want to take down the towering oak completely and thought having it sculpted would preserve its history.
“When we cut it down, we thought what could we do with the tree to make it be around for another 200 years and take on a different form instead of turning it into saw dust,” said Schaden.
After interviewing several chain saw sculptures, Schaden settled on Master Carver Bob Anderson of Rock Creek. Anderson is a trim carpenter by trade and Schaden was impressed with his detail work. Anderson has worked on smaller projects in the area, but this was by far the largest taking seven weekends to complete. He used five chain saws, several carving tools and four gallons of stain.
Schaden said the new sculpture is drawing tourists from all over to the store at the corner of Route 534 and Route 82.
“It’s really turned into a positive,” said Schaden. “There are people all day coming with cell phones and taking photos. It’s been good for us. We wanted to do something different, get the kids and families involved, and just make it a fun thing for people to enjoy for a long time.”