Wizard of Oz Oak Grove
The Wizard of Oz Oak Grove is a seven-acre stand of pristine old-growth forest located behind the running track of North Syracuse Junior High School. Never plowed or completely cleared, it preserves a mix of native trees typical of the forests that blanketed this area prior to European settlement. It is one of the only such sites in Onondaga County. The grove has been owned by the North Syracuse Central School District since 1950.
Its name reflects the view that this grove was probably L. Frank Baum’s inspiration for the Great Forest of Oz. It is located not far from Roseland, Baum’s childhood home in nearby Mattydale, and it is known that he played in the grove and knew its then-owners.
The grove includes large old trees named for historic figures, from Baum and his mother-in-law, freethinker and suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage, to Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and many others. The Baum tree is a red oak alive since 1860; the Gage tree is a white oak alive since 1820.