A piece of American history…right here on our campus.
The original Penn Treaty Elm was a large American Elm tree located in what is now Philadelphia under which William Penn is supposed to have made his Friendship Treaty with the Lenni Lenape Indians who lived in the area in 1682. This tree was important enough to the colonists that they had a military unit specifically designated to protect it during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-1778.
The tree had grafts taken from it and it was started anew in a number of locations. From one of those 2nd generation trees, Haverford College collected another graft and grew a 3rd generation (grandchild) tree. That tree died in 1976.
Our tree was planted in 1976-77 from a seedling from Haverford College’s grandchild tree. The tree on campus, which is located by BPS, near the power plant, the knitting woman statue and Corson Hall, is a fourth generation tree from the original Penn Treaty Tree.
American elm trees were decimated, starting in the 1930s, by Dutch Elm Disease, which came over from Europe in 1931. There are other diseases and insects that can kill these trees, so it is remarkable that we have such a large healthy tree on our campus. Our facilities services staff members keep a close eye on this tree, watering and treating it when necessary to ensure a long and healthy life for this historic tree.
Ursinus’ Penn Treaty Elm