Washington under the elms

Washington Elm
Once upon a time, there was an elm tree in Albany’s Lafayette Park (just across from the Capitol). That tree’s grandparent (whatever that may mean) was a leafy witness to history.

“Washington first took command of the American Army under the grandparent of this elm at Cambridge, Mass. July 3, 1775

and presented by Maryland D.A.R. Marked by New York State D.A.R. This
tree is planted as part of the 200th anniversary of the birth of George
Washington 1732-1932.”

The tree, sadly, is no longer there, no doubt felled by Dutch elm disease, which did almost as much to change the look of our cities as urban renewal did.

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2 thoughts on “Washington under the elms

  1. The tree in Cambridge which was known as “The Washington Elm” became famous. Cuttings were taken of it and send all over the U.S. The University of Washington has one still. The term grandfather means that there were several generations of cuttings and the tree memorialized with the plaque was of several generations removed. Incidentally, when the original Washington Elm came down, its wood lived on a souvenirs–different products such as tables, canes, etc. were made and sold on the basis of their fame. The Charter Oak in Connecticut went through similar incarnations.

  2. Since I wrote this, I learned that there was a much earlier assault on elms in Albany, the Elm Tree Beetle, around 1897. That was obviously well before this tree was even planted, but worth noting that Dutch elm disease wasn’t the only culprit.

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