This majestic tree stands in the centre of the oldest part in Freetown and is the most visible landmark in the city. Though its exact age is unknown it has undisputedly stood here for over 200 years. It is believed by some to have been the resting place for the Black Poor when the arrived in Sierra Leone in 1787. They apparently rested and prayed underneath the shade of the tree.
The Nova Scotians upon arrival in 1792 are also said to have sung “Return ye, ransomed sinners home” at this site though some views are held that the tree associated with this settlers is some distance away.
The Cotton Tree is synonymous with Freetown and has inspired many works of art. In fact, the Visit Sierra Leone logo pays homage to the Cotton Tree. It is also the home of bats and vultures and Cotton Trees in general are associated with myths and mysticisms in Sierra Leone. In the dry season and harmattan it sheds its leaves but in the rains the tree can be admired in all its splendour. Its magnetic pull makes it an attractive sight for visiting tourists.