The tanoak tree has a long and ultimately tragic history in California including feeding indigenous peoples with its favored acorns, helping to establish a pork industry and making Northern California one of the leading producers of high quality leather for many years. When it was first discovered by European settlers, it was described as the most majestic of all the North American hardwoods. Once the bark had been stripped from the mature trees for tanning, the tree became a pest to timber producers and was viewed as a weed to be eradicated. Now, it is being devastated by sudden oak death, which both produces spores on its foliage and infects its trunk to ultimately kill the tree. A tragic fall from grace.