The Henry Miller Memorial Library Announces the Final Big Sur Redwood Auction, Sunday October 6th at 12 PM

Nonprofit arts center will auction off 12 unique old-growth redwood slabs cut from a 500-year old tree that fell on the property in 2012

Big Sur Redwood Auction

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Decades before Europeans first stepped foot in California, a 200-foot old-growth coast redwood tree stood in Big Sur, California, approximately 36.2703° N, 121.8064° W.

In 1965, writer and Big Sur resident Henry Miller’s best friend Emil White built a cabin a mere fifty yards from the tree. In 1980, Emil named the property the Henry Miller Memorial Library to honor his friend. For the next 35 years, the Library hosted countless concerts including Philip Glass, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and David Crosby, plus workshops, exhibits, and weddings.

On Sept. 11, 2012, prior to a Flaming Lips performance, tree trimmer Tracy Chesebrough climbed the tree to hang a disco ball. Afterward, he turned to staffer Mike Scutari and said, “That tree’s coming down soon.” Mike laughed. 

In December, Mike was at the Library when he heard a loud cracking sound. He ran outside and saw the tree trunk explode. Glacially, and defiantly taking down a power pole and telephone lines, the tree finally settled on the ground.

Examining the wood a week later, local lumberjacks were amazed at what they found: pure, pristine, unadulterated redwood.

Henry Miller Memorial Library Executive Director Toren attributes the quality of the wood to the curvature of the tree itself. “This tree has grown over the centuries in a curve creating intense, and very unusual, pressure near the bottom. The tree had its center just over 2 feet from the one edge and 7 feet from the other resulting in the growth rings growing over a period of over 500 years 2 feet on the one side and 7 feet on the other!”

According to the National Park Service, 96 percent of the original old-growth coast redwoods have been logged. So when an original old-growth redwood tree falls, and when it’s discovered to be comprised of pure, beautiful redwood, it is, once again, nothing short of miraculous.

The Library auctioned off 10 slabs each at auctions in 2014 and 2015, generating $110,000. The funds come as the Library is working on upgrades to meet regulatory mandates, including structural modifications for ADA compliance, creating a new water system, and upgrading existing bathrooms.

The Oct. 6 auction will be the last time the public will be able to purchase slabs from this tree.

The auction will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, 48603 Highway 1 in Big Sur, 25 miles south of Carmel and 1/4 mile south Nepenthe restaurant.

Auction sign-up and inspection is from 1 to 4 p.m. Bidding begins at 4 p.m.

Buyers can bid remotely. Call the Library at 831-667-2574 or email Mike Scutari at

Visit for more information.

Source: Henry Miller Memorial Library