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Holyoke to receive Liberty Tree; August dedication set PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

Holyoke will soon be the proud new owner of an American Elm (Liberty Tree), courtesy of the Elm Research Institute.

After reading about it in a Professional Grounds Management Society article, CSU Extension horticulturist Linda Langelo thought the addition of an American Elm would be a great thing for Holyoke.

“I just knew this could be a great piece of history for our town as well as a great tourist attraction,” she said.

So what is a Liberty Tree? It is an elm tree that survived after Dutch Elm disease removed most of the other American Elms. It is called a Liberty Tree because it stood in front of the hall named Liberty where the Sons of Liberty and Thomas Paine met to repeal the Stamp Act on Aug. 14, 1765. The trees in front of the hall survived the disease.

Holyoke will receive a 10-foot Liberty Tree as well as a smaller three-foot tree which will be given to the school district. A bronze plaque with a poem and information commemorating the trees will also be received by the city. The Elm Research Institute has 1,000 trees they are giving away all over the United States.

The Elm Research Institute is giving away the elms to repopulate the country with American Elms and to remind citizens of their history. “It will get us to remember our liberty, our freedoms and our rights,” Langelo said.

There are very few, if any, American Elms in the area. Langelo hopes once the tree is planted, people will respect it and what it stands for. She noted a tree she planted in the park a while back was not treated well and was destroyed.

Langelo attended the Dec. 21 Holyoke City Council meeting and requested the taller tree be placed in City Park.

The dedication ceremony for the tree will be held Sunday, Aug. 14 at City Park. Langelo would like anyone and everyone interested to get involved with the project.

She noted classes from the schools, student and community organizations and anyone interested are invited to join in the event.

The Elm Research Institute makes a donation of $2,500 to make the process possible. In return, they ask that money is raised and people become members of the Liberty Tree Society.

The August date is too late to plant a tree so she is working with the school to see if the trees can be planted on Arbor Day towards the end of April and then hold the dedication in August.

“This project not only adds more trees to the environment, but it brings it all together—the history, the environment and what our future is,” Langelo said. “It’s community service, it’s remembering our history and it’s donations to give back so someone else can have a tree in their community,” Langelo said.

For more information visit the Liberty Tree Society website at http://www.elmresearch.org/. Contact Langelo for questions at 854-3616.