The Elm Tree

    By Nora Beebe '26
    Jul. 20, 2023

    The Washington College Elm tree was planted in 1928. Regarded as one of the main symbols of the campus, it was the place of many traditions. For instance, during the Gulf War, students would hold candlelight vigils under the Elm, and in other years it was home to champagne toasts before graduation. Much beloved by the college, in 1930, the student body voted to change the name of the campus newspaper from the Collegian to the Elm.

    The Washington Elm was a descendant of the elm tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, under which General George Washington took command of the American Army on July 3, 1775. The tree, a gift to the college from the Old Kent Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was planted as a seedling on April 26, 1928.  The Washington Elm fell victim to Dutch elm disease in the summer of 1991, and after lifesaving efforts failed, the tree was removed from the center of the campus lawn in early August.

    Nora is a philosophy and political science double major minoring in religious studies, passionate about the role philosophy can have in the modern day. Through her writing, she hopes to show that life's big questions are still out there, they've just changed over time.

    Elm Tree in 1934.

    Above is the Washington College elm tree in 1934. Below is the Elm tree before its death in 1991.

    Washington College Elm tree before it's death.