You mention the name Dr. Seuss and it’s basically guaranteed that people will know who you’re talking about. It’s hard to find someone who did not grow up with How The Grinch Stole Christmas or even The Cat in the Hat. After being made into a successful move, The Lorax has gained fame with a younger, fresher, generation. Would you be surprised to know that the inspiration for that story still stands, right here in San Diego?
In 1937, a long line of publishers rejected a children’s book that would later become a classic. Penned by Theodore Geisel, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street immortalized a street in the author’s hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. The book was eventually picked up by a publisher, the first in a long line of classics penned by Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.
His first book may have Massachusetts roots, but after World War II Geisel made his way to San Diego, California and moved into an observation tower in ritzy La Jolla. His newly adopted hometown became part of literary history, too. In this home and his studio on Mt. Soledad, Seuss wrote more than 40 children’s books—including the immortal The Cat in the Hat. And though he died in 1991, his legacy still looms large in both San Diego and the history of literature for kids.
“Seuss is the best selling and most influential children’s author in the United States,” Dr. Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University, tells Smithsonian.com. “He teaches children not only how to read but why and how to think. He wants children to take an interest in their world and make a better world.”
In Scripps Park, near where Dr. Seuss lived in La Jolla, a lone Lorax tree stands in the sun. OK, so Lorax trees aren’t really real, but this one is locally thought to be the inspiration for Geisel’s classic conservation story. Instead belonging to the invented Truffula species, the tree is a rare Monterey
CyprusCypress native to the California coast. Seuss could see this exact tree from the observation tower he lived in. And while there may be no plaque or official designation, ask anyone in town where the Lorax tree is, and they’ll point you here.
Being able to go up and touch the inspiration for such a legendary story is like a dream-come-true for children. Certainly this is a classic book and the fact that it’s a tree that is not likely to be removed professionally (https://www.allcleartree.com/removal) anytime soon makes me wonder: is it in need of a good trim? If so, All Clear could certainly help to ensure that this particularly famous tree is as strong and well balanced as any arborist-treated tree.
If you have time and want something to do, why not read to your kids and take them to see the Lorax tree?