The venerable ponderosa pine stood until 1875 when the Reverend William Shippen chopped it down. He claimed flooding had loosened its roots, and the tree could fall on his barn and kill his horse. Citizens were incensed at the loss of this symbolic landmark, and hundreds crowded the neighborhood to take souvenir slivers of the tree. In 1913 when excavating for an addition on the home of Jacob Opp, workmen encountered the roots and found them as stable as if the tree were still alive. The tree’s exact location was on the property line between 521 Hillsdale and 528 Highland, just west of Blake Street.
|Helena's Hangman's Tree appears on this map, drawn in 1875, just before the tree was cut down. Its placement is only approximate. Montana Historical Society Research Center Map Collection.|