Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bethesda in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

At This Location

Quercus alba -- White Oak

 
 
At This Location Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
1. At This Location Marker
Inscription.  The 192 year old, 84 foot tall white oak that grew here was felled on February 14, 1998 to make way for the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center. The U.S. Navy used the 14 ton, 35 foot trunk segment for repairs to the USS Constitution, the historic frigate known as "Old Ironsides," now berthed in Boston Harbor. A slab of the oak tree is on display in the Hatfield building lobby.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentHorticulture & ForestryWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 39° 0.215′ N, 77° 6.198′ W. Marker is in Bethesda, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of Center Drive and North Drive, on the right when traveling west on Center Drive. On the NIH Campus. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8 Center Drive, Bethesda MD 20814, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tree of Hippocrates (within shouting distance of this marker); The Centennial Anchor (approx. ¼ mile away); The Louis Stokes Laboratories (approx. ¼ mile away); The Mary Woodard Lasker Center for Health Research and Education
At This Location Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
2. At This Location Marker
(approx. 0.3 miles away); President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the NIH Bethesda campus on this site, October 31, 1940 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Walter Johnson House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Spring House & Pool of Bethesda (approx. 0.4 miles away); National Naval Medical Center in the 1940’s (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bethesda.
 
At This Location Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
3. At This Location Marker
White Oak image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
4. White Oak
Close-up of image on marker
White Oak #154 Slice image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
5. White Oak #154 Slice
In the lobby of the Hatfield Clinical Center
White Oak Tree #154 History image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
6. White Oak Tree #154 History
The white oak tree sprouted around 1800, surrounded by farmland. When the tree was about 40, surgeons first used ether-induced general anesthesia. When it was about 60, Louis Pasteur perfected the process of pasteurization. The tree's rings reveal that the oak suffered a near-fatal injury around this time, perhaps a lightning strike. The result was slowly spreading and ultimately became a lethal heartwood decay.

X-rays were discovered when the tree was approaching 100 and penicillin when it was about 125. In 1937, the tree shaded workers building NIH's first Bethesda laboratories. It was still standing in 1953, when the original NIH Clinical Center opened, but rotting from within by the time the new hospital was being built.

This expertly preserved 168--pound cross-section is from the tree, felled in 1998 as construction began on the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

A l4-ton, 35-foot segment of this oak was given to the U.S. Navy and used for repairs to the USS Constitution, the historic frigate known as "Old Ironsides" now berthed in Boston Harbor.
Close-up of picture on sign describing the cross-section of the White Oak tree.
The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Center image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 28, 2014
7. The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Center
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 29, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 414 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 29, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Aug. 14, 2020