Of the many hilly, windy roads weaving through the beautiful Brandywine Valley, few offer more dramatic twists and turns than Twaddell Mill Road, which winds its way from the Kennett Pike in the heart of historic Centreville to Rte. 100 in Pennsylvania.
In addition to being a fun ride, it is also a common cut-through route for those looking to make their way to Rt. 1 north towards 202. But whether you are a local driver or a passer-through, the curvy, narrow lane requires real focus behind the wheel … what some might call an ‘eagle’s eye.’
Certainly, an eagle can’t help but be on the minds of drivers on the thoroughfare since the emergence of a majestic bird perched atop a twelve-foot stump of tulip poplar tree on the property of Leslie and Bob Wheland. The wood carving appeared in a clearing, Sphinx-like, earlier this summer to the delight of drivers.
The carving was the brainchild of Bob, a retired chemist who came across several dead trees when clearing a section of the 5-acre property that slopes down to Twaddell Mill Road.
Inspired to do something “interesting” with the stumps, Bob went to Pinterest for ideas of wood carvings that would be eye-catching but complementary to the surrounding forest. His internet search led him to Joe King of Treecarver.com, and a commission was soon granted.
The result is an impressive, surprising treat for neighbors, passersby and earthy art enthusiasts alike.
Bob says his wife Leslie was “uncertain” about his project at first but is “thrilled” by the outcome. “She loves it,” he said. He said many people have stopped by to ask about the art.
King has carved trees full time for 30 years in 25 states and seven countries. He said the carving took two days, over the course of a weekend, which included a Saturday of pouring rain.
“I actually concentrate better in the rain,” said King.
The eagle with ferns at its feet required two coats of varnish.
Asked if he intended to add to his new sculpture garden, Bob Wheland said he has “no immediate plans” to do so.