Dayton's oldest sisters are 550 years old -- here’s where to find them

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White oaks known as the Three Sisters were here before Columbus voyaged to the New World. Video by

There are three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Fairytales are full of threes: “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Bears,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Mythology has the Three Fates, major and minor chords each contain three notes; likewise, blind mice come in threes. 

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In Dayton, the oldest and most famous threesome are the Three Sisters.

These “girls” are more than 550 years old. What are they? A stand of ancient white oaks predating Columbus’ voyage to the New World. 

The first tree you will encounter in the Three Sisters grove at Sugar Creek MetroPark is the largest, and dubbed the "Big Sister." (Connie Post)

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You can find them along the Orange Trail at Sugar Creek MetroPark in Bellbrook. Sadly, one of the Sisters came down in a storm in 2008. The other two are in a natural state of decline – like everything else in the Universe, they are growing older. The average lifespan of a white oak is 300 years and some have lived 600 years. The oldest known white oak in all of North America is outside the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and it is in the process of dying. 

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You can find them along the Orange Trail at Sugar Creek MetroPark in Bellbrook. Sadly, one of the Sisters came down in a storm in 2008. The other two are in a natural state of decline – like everything else in the Universe, they are growing older. The average lifespan of a white oak is 300 years and some have lived 600 years. The oldest known white oak in all of North America is outside the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and it is in the process of dying.

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The largest of Dayton’s ancient white oaks is called the Big Sister, and it’s the first one you’ll encounter when you reach the grove at Sugarcreek. 

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You've gotta see this living tree tunnel hidden in the woods. Video by Connie Post

During the Sisters’ lifetime, many things have happened: Johan Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1455, Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492, Copernicus realized the Earth revolves around the Sun in 1514, The Little Ice Age cooled off Europe in 1550, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre burned down in 1613, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and the Wright Brothers invented flight in 1903.

That’s some history!

Want to go? 

WHAT: Sugarcreek MetroPark 

WHERE: 4178 Conference Road, Bellbrook 

WHEN: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., April 1 – Oct. 31; 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Nov. 1 – March 31. 

INFO: Website

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