This article will begin a series about the last living Liberty Tree and Lewis Lumber’s involvement.
The Last Living Liberty Tree has a history as old that of the Maryland colony. It was already a mature tree, green flourishing, when Annapolis residents staged their own version of a tea party and burned British vessel named Peggy Stewart. The tree was full and healthy when 4,000 French troops marched through the city to join General Washington at Yorktown in 1781. It was in the square of the yard where General Lafayette attended a review of soldiers on the college green during two days of festivities honoring him in December 1824.
This tree is reputed to be the last of the so-called Liberty Trees in the United States. The large tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) survived a bolt of lightning and an explosion of gunpowder within its trunk in the mid 1800’s along with plenty of wind and weather during four centuries. In 1961 it was featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” cartoon strip as “The Poplar that Would Not Die!”
It was under the Liberty Tree’s branches that the Son’s of Liberty met to hear Samuel Chase and other patriots tell the news of pending revolution and democracy. Annapolis residents also gathered there to determine whether or not the people who had not joined the patriots should be cast out of the colony.
In April 1975, damaging winds opened up a six-foot-long crack in the upper trunk and widened it as much a four inches. In an effort to prevent damage by another storm, tree surgeons removed a number of branches to lighten the top and filled the crack with a pliable mastic, secured on either side with bolts.
When the tree finally succumbed ti age and weather, it had a diameter of 102 inches at four and a half feet from the ground. The tree was measured at 96 feet tall and had a total spread of 60 feet.
The Liberty Tree received special care from a local horticultural experts, however after 400+ years, the tree was too old to withstand the beatiing it took during the Hurricane Floyd in September 1999. An on October 25, the last living Liberty tree was taken down following a ceremony celebrating its long life.
Stay tuned for more information about this great tree and its destinations.