The Big One, a large Douglas fir round, is lifted by a crane out of the roof of the old Lakewood library building on June 13, 2024.

‘The Big One’ gets a new home in Fort Steilacoom Park

The Big One, a large Douglas fir round, is lifted by a crane out of the roof of the old Lakewood library building on June 13, 2024.

June 13, 2024

For nearly 60 years a massive Douglas fir round sat perched atop a cement stand in an enclosure at the entrance of the Pierce County Library System’s Lakewood library branch on Wildaire Road SW.

Today, the Tenzler Log, affectionately called “The Big One”, found a new home.

With ease and skill, a crew from Omega Morgan used a crane to lift the 9 ¼ ton section of tree from its stand at the library.

It hoisted the 12-foot-wide round above the roof, swinging it slowly in an arc to the street where a truck sat waiting with a custom-made cradle. The round was carefully secured before making the 3-mile journey across town to Fort Steilacoom Park.

Once there the process reversed. This time The Big One was lifted from the cradle and gently placed into its new resting place adjacent to the paved trail that leads to Waughop Lake.

In the coming weeks crews from Neeley Construction will secure the round to the stand. By fall 2024 a new enclosure, designed by James Guerro Architects, will be in place. The enclosure will protect the tree slab from the elements, while still allowing public viewing. Until the enclosure is built, the piece will remain wrapped to protect it.

The addition of The Big One to the park returned the historic Doug fir to nature. It also joins other historical amenities nearby. Its proximity to the paved trail means the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Fort Steilacoom Park can easily view The Big One year-round.

In its partnership with the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the City of Lakewood hopes to incorporate moments from tribal history into the display to honor the tribe and connect it with other interpretive signage at the park.

The Lakewood City Council agreed to take ownership of The Big One from the Pierce County Library System so that the slab remained part of the Lakewood community. The city and library system entered a formal agreement in March 2023 to transfer ownership, allowing the city to take the lead to relocate and preserve the historic slab.

Big One Quick Facts:

  • 1359: The Big One is born in a forest in Packwood, WA.
  • 1945: The Big One is felled at 586 years old.
  • 1946: The log – said at the time to be the largest Douglas Fir tree ever logged – is unveiled at the Northwest Door Company Plant in Tacoma. Later a cross-section of the tree was cut so it could be displayed publicly.
  • 1965: The Big One cross section slab comes to Lakewood and is installed at the Lakewood library.
  • Size: 12-feet, 9 inches in diameter; 40-feet in circumference.
  • Weight: 9 ¼ tons (estimate).

Read more about the history of The Big One from the Lakewood Historical Society. View a timeline of the city’s involvement in preserving the slab.

Two people in bright green safety vests help guide the 9-ton Douglas fir round known as The Big One onto a waiting truck on June 13, 2024.
A truck carrying The Big One, a 13-foot-wide Douglas fir round, backs up along a paved trail in Fort Steilacoom Park on June 13, 2024.
Crews position wooden beams to hold in place The Big One, a 9-ton Douglas fir round that is now on display in Fort Steilacoom Park.