Celebrate by Planting Tree: Swarthmore College’s Sesquicentennial

As the year winds down, Swarthmore College brings the celebration of the sesquicentennial (150 year anniversary) to a close. Among the various performances, conferences, and gatherings, the College and Arboretum celebrate this momentous milestone the same way the College celebrated its founding, by planting a tree. In fact, the same species was planted by the founders, Quercus rubra.

In 1869, Quakers commemorated the founding of Swarthmore College by planting two red oaks. photo credit: Swarthmore College Archives

On November 10, 1869, Lucretia Coffin Mott (founder) along with 800 other Quakers planted two oak salpings on newly founded Swarthmore College’s then treeless grounds. These saplings had beene raised from acorns by Lucretia Coffin Mott’s recently departed husband, James Mott.

The sesquicentennial oak is planted among several oaks, including another red oak. photo credit: R. Robert

As reported by Friends Intelligencer November 17 edition: “While they (the saplings) were placed in the ground, George Truman made some appropriate explanations,…The happy effect of perpetuating the memories of early life by the planting of trees, which as they grow, beautifully typify the progress of our lives…”

The stunning red fall color of Quercus rubra. photo credit: R. Manduca

Red oaks are magnificent trees to be planted in celebration or in memory. Often living 100 years, Quercus rubra reach majestic heights of 50 to 75 feet with a spread 50 to 75 feet. This wondrous shade tree will provide a great picnic spot for generations and abundant acorns and habit for our wildlife friends. This native tree also showcases red fall color, hence its common name.

The sesquicentennial oak can be found planted in the shadow of a Quercus rubra that pre-dates for founding of the Arboretum (1929). photo credit: R. Robert

The sesquicentennial oak can be found planted in the shadow of a Quercus rubra that pre-dates for founding of the Arboretum (1929). Flanking the celebratory oak are Quercus acutissima and Quercus alba. Our young sesquicentennial oak has some large neighbors to grow up too.

The commemorative plaque signifying the sesquicentennial oak. photo credit: R. Robert

Consider planting a to tree commemorate your successes and milestones. You will leave a legacy for generations.

Categorized as Garden Plants

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