On March 16, 1918 — just 7 years after construction of the Grand Lodge Hall — a red oak was planted “in the Village Green area” of Masonic Village “to memorialize the anniversary of the American Red Cross.” Details are hazy but since ARC was founded May 21, 1881, it seems odd that the tree would be planted in recognition of the organization’s 37th anniversary. On the other hand, the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of ARC that covers Elizabethtown was founded about 1917, so the tree was likely celebrating that chapter’s First Anniversary.
The most significant Quercus rubra in the Village Green area today is the tree closest to the newly constructed canopy at the Green-side entrance of Grand Lodge Hall. In 2019 this tree measured approximately 205 inches in trunk circumference and 90 feet in height. But the outstanding feature of its grand architecture is a massive horizontal limb that extends 50 feet from the trunk.
This amazing species is deciduous and yet holds many of its leaves till spring when new buds begin to grow. This strategy reduces the number of tiny wounds created in autumn when leaf stems separate from branches, which in turn helps to protect the tree’s winter energy reserves.