Iconic Calaveras tunnel tree topples during storm

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Monday, January 9, 2017
Calaveras Big Tree topples during storm
A beloved part of California history toppled to the ground during a big storm in the Bay Area.

CALAVERAS, Calif. (KGO) -- The beloved 'tunnel' or 'drive-thru' tree fell to the ground during a massive storm in the Bay Area that left rivers and creeks flooded, houses damaged and several thousand people without power.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park volunteer Jim Allday says the tree went down Sunday and shattered on impact. He says the once-majestic sequoia is now a heap of rubble.

A tunnel was carved into the tree's trunk in the 1880s to let tourists pass through. It had allowed cars, but more recently was only crossed on foot.

Generations of locals and tourists have visited the tree for centuries, posing for photos and carving their names into it.

San Francisco Bay area resident Joyce Brown has been visiting the tree since she was 12 and says it feels like she's lost a family member.

Many fans of the iconic tree have taken to social media to hare their memories and photographs of the giant piece of California history.

PHOTOS: ABC7 viewers share their tunnel tree memories

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ABC7 viewers shared photos of their visit to the Calaveras, Calif. tunnel tree. The iconic tree toppled over during a massive storm in the Bay Area on Sunday, January 8, 2017.
Photo submitted to KGO-TV by Peggy Martinez/Facebook

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The Associated Press has contributed to this report.