The tree rings would reveal the number of years from seedling to the time the tree trunk was cut down to the present size. But judging from the girth, it well may have stood on that spot for 150 or more years, around the time of the U.S. Civil War that ended in 1865. In a brief history of the village of Leland, the county’s first capital thanks to the convenience of water transportation compared to land travel, one of the first enterprises by settlers crowding the Native Odawa who valued the river’s outlet into the big lake as a trading location was to form the iron smelting business from ore taken from the Upper Peninsula, hence its name, the Leland-Lake Superior Iron Company, founded in 1870 and active for about 20 years. Then other sites overtook them and lumbering was raging nearby. Once the trees were all cut it was commercial fishing for Whitefish and Lake Trout that employed local hands for a few generations. Today it is the short season of summer and early fall tourists who motor to the peninsula for diversion and relaxation far from their ordinary responsibilities. This tree witnessed all these changes and now boldly stands from long ago as a reminder. UPDATE 10-2015: brass plaque faces the lake beyond with a full story of this “champion” tree designated by state organization: felled in 2011 after 110 years, and after it’s buds were used to create 60 clones of this 100 foot cottonwood.