In 2015, a storm blew through Amber, Iowa. When it had passed, two hula hoops were left dangling off the limbs of a tree on County Home Road.
No one is sure if someone put the hula hoops there, or if they were somehow blown in the wind and lodged into the tree during the storm, as the local legend holds. In any case, more and more hula hoops began to appear on the tree. There are now more than 50 colorful hoops hanging from the branches.
It’s a mystery as to who started adorning the tree with the toys, or why. But the whimsical tradition has spread its roots further and further through Iowa as more people came to seek out the curious tree, some even adding their own hula hoops. One local woman occasionally placed rocks with a picture of the hula hoop tree painted on them at the trunk, a delightful bonus for those who find them.
Unfortunately the Hula Hoop Tree now lives on only in memories, as landowner Jon Zirkelbach removed it in April 2020. After concerns were raised about the risk of falling branches harming visitors or damaging property, Zirkelbach decided it would be safest to cut down the tree.
Know Before You Go
The tree is in the community of Amber in Jones County, about 3.4 miles east of US151 between the towns of Anamosa and Monticello.