Many webpages discuss visiting some of the real locations from the American Gods book. I have seen a few discussions about which town in Wisconsin served as inspiration for Lakeside. What I can not find any information on is where the farm "1 hour south of Blacksburg" that has the ash tree is. The tree that represents the World Tree.

Neil mentions that in many cases he changes a handful of facts, so I suppose "1 hour" and "south" are both up for discussion. I grew up in south eastern VA, near Blacksburg, and know the area well, but a huge ash tree is not generally known as far as I can tell.

Anyone ever heard or read anything?

  • I tried to clean up the title a little, feel free to edit it or roll it back. Mar 5, 2011 at 20:52
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    works for me if it gets an answer. I mean seriously, it would be one of the greatest geocaching locations ever.
    – Justin C
    Mar 5, 2011 at 21:37
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    I think that although this is a good question it shouldn't be answered, as the correct answer, assuming one is possible, would have a bad effect on the location and/or owners of the land. Nobody wants their back yard tromped over by legions of Neil Gaiman fans.
    – user11295
    Jan 3, 2013 at 8:15

6 Answers 6


He said in an interview:

The farm with an ash tree, an hour south of Blackburg (“American Gods”), is, in fact, an old crumbling farm of Tori Amos’ family. Gaiman, a good friend of Amos, visited the farm while on tour with her years ago and decided to use it in his book. He wasn’t sure he’d ever told anyone that before.

Ten Things To Know: Neil Gaiman Edition

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    wow, good find! This just makes me more interested though. I grew up in that part of Virginia and I knew more than a few Amos families, but I never thought any of them would be tied to Tori Amos.
    – Justin C
    Jan 22, 2014 at 13:52
  • I wouldn't accept without a photo and grid ref. Apr 26, 2018 at 16:54

From American Gods:

"Caveat, and Warning for Travelers

(...) I have obscured the location of several of the places in this book: the town of Lakeside, for example, and the farm with the ash tree an hour south of Blacksburg. You may look for them if you wish. You might even find them."

To me this shows that either the farm with the ash tree is not real (which I am more leaning towards) or the location is so obscured that one would have to ask Gaiman to say where this place is. I have seen some of the possibilities but none of them are conclusive.

Some had tried mapping the route that Shadow took.

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    every other location in the book does exist, so I would think the ash tree does as well. There are some monster ash trees in this part of VA. I agree about the obscuring of the location though. It could be an hour south of many other cities, or another direction, or not actually an hour away. So I guess I understand obscuring the fact, which is why I was hoping for hints. If you have seen possibilities could you post a link, even if you think they are wrong?
    – Justin C
    Mar 8, 2011 at 13:42

Virginia big tree registry has three large Ash trees in the area of Blacksburg. My vote is for the Ash tree in the graveyard in Wyetheville Va along Rt 11.

  • Somehow the idea that it's actually in a graveyard seems like the kind of thing Gaiman would throw in as an added bonus Oct 21, 2013 at 16:21
  • @erut Thanks for the digging. I had looked through that database before but never checked Wythe County (where Wytheville is). It seemed further west than south, but technically it is 1 hours drive south in Interstate 81, by backroads it would be closer to 1.5 hours. Next time I am near Wytheville I will be sure to swing by and get a look myself!
    – Justin C
    Oct 23, 2013 at 23:30
  • @JustinC - Did you ever find it?
    – Valorum
    Feb 24, 2017 at 8:57
  • @Valorum - Once I found out it was on private land I decided not to look around. Cundy is correct though, that is where the farm is.
    – Justin C
    Feb 24, 2017 at 18:33

The place is on Route 607 in a town called Patterson, in Wythe County, Virginia. That's where the Amos family farm is located.

I remember Eddie Amos and his brother Woodrow playing cards on the store porch when I was a kid. Back then I didn't have a clue that Ellen Amos would become a superstar.

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    But do you remember the tree?
    – Valorum
    Feb 24, 2017 at 8:57

Tree and farm located. The tip that helped was knowing the farm was Tori Amos' family land. From there it was a matter of looking up her father, his past residences, then cross referencing parcel maps. The book states that to enter the farm, Shadow opens a metal gate with "Ash" written on it then walks behind the VW bus as it drives past the house and into the field where the tree is.

36°52'46.5"N 80°47'58.0"W

The metal gate, the winding path past the home into the field and there the tree. My only concern from mapping is the tree may have been removed after being hit by lightning (I think I remember him saying somewhere it was hit by lightning in the recent past.) But there's the farm, the gate and the field. One more location found.

Update: I emailed Neil about this directly, asking if I had found the location of the world tree. His reply: "You did. And it sounds like the tree came down, somewhere in the last 21 years..."

Neil Gaiman response to World Tree Location

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    Can you offer any evidence that this is the location, rather than just a random series of figures you've plucked out of the air?
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2019 at 17:58
  • 2
    You may want to follow the instructions to merge your accounts and that way you’ll take ownership of your post again and not have to wait for approval.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 24, 2021 at 15:43

The tree is located on a farm in Floyd, VA.

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    Welcome to SciFi.SE! Can you provide any evidence that that is the correct tree, such as a statement from Gaiman himself?
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 26, 2018 at 16:10

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