Ulmus procera

English Elm

 

Woodward Hill Cemetery, 508 South Queen Street, Lancaster PA

 

Ben Tresselt III

 

Not far from the grave of American President James Buchanan and on one of the highest points in the city, this elm tree stood for as much as 280 years. The tree was “probably carried across the Atlantic Ocean and planted as a sapling by English settlers just 6 years or so after Lancaster -- then called Hickory Town -- was settled in 1718.” [Ad Crable, Lancaster Online, No- vember 20, 2006]  As such it “was the last living link to our proud city’s colonial days.”

 

Despite devoted care from arborist Ben Tresselt III, the tree succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease in 2006, which was more than a decade after most other elms in Lancaster had been wiped out by the fungus. When it died, this tree was the state champion English Elm with a height of 95 feet, a trunk circumference of 216 inches, and a spread of 91 feet. Old Road Furniture (Intercourse, PA) still makes custom tables from the elm’s wood, and as of 2019 the tree’s great stump continued to grace the cemetery’s grounds.

 

This amazing species is so resistant to rot in saturated conditions that its hollowed trunks were once used as water pipes.