Wizard Tree

In a time not so long ago, in a land not so far away lived two teenaged adventurers.  One; yours truly, and the other – my partner in crime.  After an afternoon of skateboarding at the old Donelson Hospital, we decided to drive down Old Hickory Boulevard, past the Hermitage and arrive in the then incorporated town of Lakewood, known mostly for it’s speed trap by Nashvillians.

But we had heard another story.  One of mystery and intrigue.  About halfway down Debow Street stood the large, carved tree, locally referred to as the Wizard Tree.  Under the cover of darkness, those brave enough to face it arrived to soak in it’s power.  The legend was that a man accidentally drove head first into the tree, and upon impact, had a vision of God speaking to him.

Now, you know that the holy ghost just loves to appear to people as chips, bananas and as cinnamon buns, but the wizard tree was something else all together.  The man who saw the vision deemed it his responsibility to carve the tree up, to bear witness to the face he saw.

A funnier story is that the man on the tree manifested himself after losing a pie eating contest with the devil and would play telephone with people who came to visit him from hell.

The tree was known around town to have powers, and the man on the tree looked much like a wizard, dubbing it the appropriate “wizard tree.”  Now friends, those were the days before cell phone cameras when we used our minds for memories so I do not have, nor do I know anyone that has a picture of this tree (if you do please add it to the comments!).  But I can tell you one thing: it did exist.

There’s a nice marina bar now over in the neighborhood and I drive by Debow sometimes just to see what’s happening.  The tree is no longer there and the street feels different.  My adult mind also wonders how a man could have possibly crashed into the tree on such a narrow, small road.

But those thoughts are no fun.  I think I’ll just sit on Old Hickory Lake and remember things the way they were.


  1. Growing up in Donelson, I’m surprised I don’t know th story of the Wizard tree. but did you ever go with your boy friend on Lakeshor Dr. and ride the “Roller Coaster”? Two steep hills, down and up. They are still there today although the lake almost took them. Several cul-de-sacs with beautiful houses backing onto the lake are on the left as you drive East. The “Roller Coaster seemed alot steeper then, especially going 50 MPH in those days and sitting next to your “Feller”!

      1. Angela,
        If you would like a photo of the tree, I will be more than happy to send you one. You can get in touch with me via FB. The tree was in my brother’s front yard on DeBow Street in Old HIckory up until my Mother sold the house. The man that carved the tree was a Craftsman from Gatlinburg.

    1. Haha! That’s the story we were all told, too. Of course it definitely sounds made up as an adult. We drove by many times as teenagers in the 90’s. We were also told that if you stayed too long in front of the house, the owner would chase you off.

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