Safe Harbor Arboretum                         


Safe Harbor, River Road, Conestoga PA (along the Trail of History, to the right of tennis courts)


Mary Carolyn Davies, Paula Swear- ingen, Ad Crable

This historic trail and arboretum open-ed in 1997 and contains about 50 kinds of trees and shrubs.  Some of the trees date to the mid-1850s when houses were built for immigrant workers at the Safe Harbor Iron Works.  In fact, the arboretum's primary path is, according to Ad Crable, "what used to be the main street of this Safe Harbor ghost town."


The collection focuses on trees and shrubs that are native to Southeastern Pennsylvania, although a pair of Nor- way Spruce (Picea abies) are among the first to greet visitors.   Included in the collection are:


Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), American Basswood (Tilia americana), Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) and vari- ous other oaks, Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), Silver Maple (Acer sacchari- num), Sugar Maple (A. saccharum), Boxelder (A. negundo), Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), Sycamore (Platanus occi- dentalis), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Birch (Betula papyrifera), Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) and -- in the woods just beyond the clearing -- Pawpaw (Asimina triloba).  


Most of these are mature, stately spe- cimens.  Unfortunately, as of May 2019, many of the identifying labels were missing and needed to be re- placed.


Among the highlights of this arbore- tum are:  (1) A poem ("Forests are made for weary men...") by American writer and poet Mary Carolyn Davies (1888-1940); and (2) a very large Silver Maple trunk, about 200 inches in cir- cumference, out of which several Staghorn Sumacs are growing (see separate entries).   


For historical information on the com- munity that once thrived here, see Ad Crable's article on "Safe Harbor's Trail of History," Lancaster Newspapers, Sept. 14, 2004.


[Photos #2, 3 - American Basswood; Photo #4 by Ryan Chandler; Photo #5, Mary Carolyn Davies]

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