Memorial Trees on FSU Campus

Located between Landis and Gilchrist Halls and Jefferson Street, there are five live oaks with a long and storied history. These George Washington Memorial Trees have stood watch over campus for almost 100 years.

In 1932, the United States celebrated the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. There were celebrations all across the country to honor America’s first president. That year, the American Tree Association published a book titled “George Washington Bicentennial Tree Planting”, which opened with the following:

“Ten million monuments to a great man! Ten million tributes, enduring and straight-growing … These are not to be monoliths of marble, not statues of static stones, or dun-colored copper and bronze, nor a eulogium written upon perishable parchment; but growing things, alive with a life emblematical of that living nation which the First President guided into being.”

George Washington Bicentennial Tree Planting by The American Tree Association

This resulted in several tree planting events taking place across the country. Florida State College for Women participated in the celebration by planting five trees of their own, three of which still have their original plaques.

According to the Florida Flambeau, these five live oaks were grown in the college nursery from acorns for the celebration. They were planted on February 19th, 1932 and on the following Monday there was a ceremony held in front of the trees. At 11:30am on February 22nd, classes were released early and campus offices closed so that all students, teachers, and officers could attend the ceremony. Four of the trees were dedicated by the student body presidents of each class and the last by the Alumni Association.

Next time you’re on campus near Greek Park, located between Landis Hall and Jefferson Street, take a moment to visit these historic trees.

Published by Kacee Reguera

Heritage & University Archives Assistant Florida State University

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