Evergreen Memorial Cemetery is a resting place for many but for nearly 150 years, it has also been home to Dorothy of the wizard of oz.
L. Frank Baum, who created The Wizard of Oz, had a niece named Dorothy Gage. She died 5 months after her birth from a brain disease. Touched by her struggle and affection he decided to name the lead character in his novel Dorothy.
She and her family were living in Bloomington at the time and so she was buried at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.
Recently the cemetery was battling with a dying oak tree a few feet away from her graving and knowing what they knew about Dorothy they decided to contact Bill Baker from Naperville and ask if he would want to help them honor her.
“I obviously didn’t know the story at all,” said Baker, chainsaw carver. “That was the one big thing is that that I didn’t even know the whole story behind it just about The Wizard of Oz. I didn’t even know it was related to Bloomington or even Illinois and now knowing that, to be able to do this is such a big honor.”
Baker said he has 36 more hours of work to complete on the sculpture before he can call it done. But even thought it’s not finished he says the most interesting thing about the tree is that little Dorothy Gage and it coincidentally grew up together.
“I was counting all the rings (of the tree) and I got about halfway through and that was at least a hundred years and she has been passed away for at least a hundred and twenty years,” added Baker. “This tree was a baby when she was a baby so I mean it has been here the entire time (she has been buried).”