Posts filed under ‘Wye Oak’

Season Compare: Wye Oak

When a tree is designated as a champion, is the honorary symbol of an entire state and lives for over 450 years, it is bound to show up in a few pictures here and there. The Library of Congress’s Digital Collection includes a Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. In it, a 1936 picture of the Wye Oak by E. H. Pinkering . It matches up nicely to a picture by Flickr user Leon Reed.

If you look closely at the latter shot, you’ll notice the missing limb on the bottom right of the tree. There are a number of support wires attached to the tree as well.

Wye Oak 1936
Photograph by E. H. Pinkering, 1936


Photograph Courtesy of Leon Reed

For more pictures of the Wye Oak, I recommend Leon Reed’s PhotoStream. He has numerous images of the Wye Oak over the years, including what’s left today.

April 1, 2009 at 10:00 am 8 comments

Arbor Day: Maryland


Wye Oak
(Photo Courtesy of Leon Reed)
Happy Arbor Day, Maryland!

Maryland celebrates its Arbor Day the first Wednesday in April, so Happy Arbor Day to Maryland!

In 1941, when Maryland picked its State Tree, they didn’t just designate a species, they picked an actual tree as well. The species they selected was White Oak and the tree– the Wye Oak from Easton.

Why the Wye Oak? Until it fell in 2002, the Wye Oak reigned for 62 years as the largest White Oak in the U.S. When it died, it was believed to be more than 460 years old. It started its life decades before European settlers arrived in the area. The entire history of Maryland’s statehood could be encompassed in the lifetime of this one tree.

The Wye Oak was so beloved that through the years, the state made sure its products were put to use. In 1953, the tree lost a branch during a storm. The wood was used to make gavels for the state judges. When the whole tree fell near fifty years later, a $25,000 desk was made for the governor’s mansion. Leaves from the fallen giant were captured in copper to make keepsakes and are still available for purchase. Wye Oak seedlings were sold and are planted across the state of Maryland. Two Wye Oak clones reside at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

It may have perished, but Maryland’s honorary State Tree manages to live on.

To find out when your state celebrates Arbor Day, check out Arbor Day Dates Across America at ArborDay.org.

April 1, 2009 at 1:00 am 11 comments


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