The General Grant Tree is the Largest Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the General Grant Grove Section of Kings Canyon Nationional Park in California and is the Third Largest Tree in the World.

The tree was named in 1867 after Ulysses S. Grant, union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the “Nation’s Christmas Tree" on April 28, 1926. Due in large part to its huge base, the General Grant tree was thought to be the largest tree in the world prior to 1931, when the first precise measurements indicated that the General Sherman was slightly larger. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the tree a “National Shrine”, a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared.

In 2005 the General Grant moved up one place in the giant sequoia size rankings, when the Washington tree lost the hollow upper half of its trunk after a fire. Once thought to be well over 2,000 years old, recent estimates suggest the General Grant tree is closer to 1,650 years old. In 2012, it was determined that the General Grant was the third largest tree in the world, behind the General Sherman and President.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Grant_tree