Tree planting to mark 100th anniversary

One hundred years ago, the Hilltop Campus resembled a barren landscape with a few buildings dotting the area.

So several of the University’s early movers and shakers, including Robert S. Brookings, Marshall S. Snow, Edward Mallinckrodt Sr. and Alfred L. Shapleigh convened on April 22, 1905 — Arbor Day — to spruce up the area.

Now, 100 years later, The Woman’s Club of Washington University is marking that anniversary with a tree-planting event of its own.

At 1 p.m. April 22, the Woman’s Club will host a brief ceremony to celebrate the planting of two Valley Forge Elms in the Elizabeth Danforth Butterfly Garden. Tea and cookies will be served.

“Dutch Elm disease has wiped out most of the elms that we had on campus,” said Paul Norman, horticultural and grounds manager. “The Valley Forge variety was developed to resist that disease, and we bought a couple dozen when they were just sprigs.

“Originally, we planted some by the Alumni House, and when they got larger, we transplanted them to an area right by the Lindell and Skinker intersection. Most of them have been moved back to campus, but we had a couple left.”

Those two will be planted in the butterfly garden. The holes will have been dug, and the trees will have been placed in the holes, but Norman said a shovel will be on hand for anyone who wants to throw some dirt in the hole.

The trees — about an inch-and-a-half in diameter now — will make a nice addition to the garden.

“We have some really good growth on trees that we have planted in the garden in past years,” said Jean Davis of the Woman’s Club. “For the pair of native American elms that we will be planting, a tree that many are sentimental about, we have selected a site in the garden where the trees will be attractive and grow well.”