The Mullan Tree

North of I-90, just off of exit 28 is a short interpretive trail dedicated to the memory of Captain John Mullan and special 4th of July celebration.

While excavating a military road in the Washington Territory wilderness, Captain John Mullan and his troops stopped on July 4th, 1861 to celebrate Independence Day. An American flag was raised to commemorate this event, and Mullan carved the date and the initials for Military Road, M. R. into an unassuming white pine tree on the trail. This was the first celebration of the holiday in the region.

The Mullan Tree has not always been respected for its role in history. Tourists carved their initials into the tree, and others chipped away pieces of bark for souvenirs. Eventually, a wrought-iron fence was erected to protect the noble pine. The tree stood for 101 years until a wind storm severely damaged it. Preservationists decided that the remains of the tree should be moved to the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene in 1962. ​Today, all that may be seen at the Mullan Tree Historical Site is a memorial plaque placed where the proud tree once stood, and a short section of the original Mullan Road.