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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The American Elm that Grew Along with America

 
 
The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones
1. The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker
Inscription.
This American elm (Ulmus Americana) is one of the oldest and most majestic trees on the Smithsonian grounds. It was planted around 1850, well before the opening of the National Museum of Natural History in 1910. Known as the Smithsonian Witness Elm, this tree has seen many momentous events pass between the white House and U.S. Capitol during its lifetime.

1909
Center Market venders staged along B street (now Constitution Avenue) in front of Natural History Building

1932
Construction of National Archives Building on the former site of Center Market with Natural History Building in the background

1932
View of National Mall (with Natural History Building and Center Market at top) before trees were cleared to return Washington to the L'Enfant plan.

1942
Washington, D.C. Memorial Day parade. One of the many parades, marches, and heads of state that have passed by the Smithsonian Witness Elm

How big is it?
Trunk Circumference: 17.75 feet (5.4m)
Crown Spread: 116.5 feet (35.5m)
Height: 80 feet (24.4m)

American elms are native to eastern North America and were planted extensively throughout the United States in the 1700s and 1800s. From the earliest plans for the
The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2017
2. The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker
National Mall, elm trees were the unifying element that linked the parks, avenues, and monument grounds. Around 1930, the devastating Dutch Elm Disease fungus was introduced to the U.S. and killed millions of elms throughout the country.

Today, great elms like this tree in front of you still persist, either through natural resistance to the disease, proactive maintenance and disease control programs, or a combination of both. This American elm is well cared for by the Smithsonian Gardens' staff and is the first tree catalogued in the Smithsonian Gardens Tree Collection, a living museum collection of thousands of trees.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Historic Trees marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.521′ N, 77° 1.452′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Constitution Avenue NW 0.1 miles west of 7th Street NW. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20530, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Nathan Hale (within shouting distance of this marker); Temple for Our History (within shouting distance of this marker); Pollinator Profile: Hummingbirds (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); How can you help pollinators?
The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2017
3. The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker
(about 400 feet away); Where do pollinators live? (about 400 feet away); When does pollination happen? (about 400 feet away); Equal Justice Under the Law (about 400 feet away); Why is pollination important? (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
 
Categories. EnvironmentHorticulture & Forestry
 
The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2017
4. The American Elm that Grew Along with America Marker
Closeup of image on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones
5. Closeup of image on the marker
1909

Center Market vendors staged along B street (now Constitution Avenue) in front of Natural History Building

Smithsonian Institution Archives,
Image #2002-10673
Closeup of image on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones
6. Closeup of image on the marker
1932

View of National Mall (with Natural History Building and Center Market at top) before trees were cleared to return Washington to the L'Enfant plan

Smithsonian Institution Archives,
Image #MAH-21935
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 20, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 99 times since then and 58 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1. submitted on January 22, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2, 3, 4. submitted on November 20, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   5, 6. submitted on January 22, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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