Put-in-Bay Tree Carving Memorializes Founder
A Put-in-Bay Tree Carving began its life an estimated 37 years before she would be seen by the founder of Put-in-Bay Jose DeRivera. In 1854 DeRivera arrived at the Lake Erie Islands and purchased South Bass Island ( Known as Put-in-Bay) Middle Bass Island, Gibralter, Ballast & Stave Islands for $44,000. DeRivera was a Hispanic Merchant who began to parcel off the islands selling lots, some at deeply discounted prices to organizations such as the School which was built on land sold for $1.00 and St Pauls Church on land exchanged for $10.00.
DeRivera is considered the founder of Put-in-Bay and the Bass Islands and is honored each year at the Put-in-Bay Founders Day Celebration in the downtown park named after him.In 2017 a later afternoon thunderstorm made landfall at Put-in-Bay and that same tree now estimated to be over 200 years old was critically damaged. With great foresight, local park officials topped the tree just below its breaking point and one year later the memorial to DeRivera was commisioned and began to take life. Ohio Tree Carving, well known throughout Ohio, arrived on the island and began setting up scaffolding and the safety equipment for the project.
Over the next two weeks, the white oak tree began to take shape using hand tools, grinders, and chains saws and began to take the shape of Founder Jose DeRivera. On May 2nd, the Put-in-Bay Tree Carving was completed and dedicated at a total cost of $8000.
The tree carving must be sealed each year to preserve the exterior and should last an estimated 25 years or more according to Mat Missey, sculptor. The tree has already become one of the most popular Put-in-Bay Attractions where thousands have gathered around to take photos with the massive carving. The tree is located in front of the Edgewater Hotel across from DeRivera park downtown Put-in-Bay