A tulip tree at 1001 Central Avenue illustrates two of the species' most typical features: a long, straight, slightly tapered trunk with no branches near the ground and a rather narrow crown. The form is distinctive enough that tulip trees can be recognized from a distance even when they are leafless.
Tulip trees grow fast and become huge. In a favorable environment they can grow to 200 feet tall with ten foot diameter trunks.(1) Their massive size and weak wood make them susceptible to damage by high winds. For that reason tulip trees are not often used as street trees.
Light and easily worked wood can have advantages, however. Tulip tree trunks were hollowed out by several native American tribes to make canoes. It is said that Daniel Boone took his family and belongings down the Ohio River in a sixty-foot tulip tree canoe, abandoning Kentucky for the Spanish Territory in the late 1700s. (2)
(1) Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, Charles Fergus. Stackpole Books 2002, p. 148.