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Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS RE

History Takes Root In Avalon

Posted May 23rd 2022

It’s unassuming behind the 2-foot circular fence on 74th Street in Armacost Park. Despite its low-key appearance, there’s a lot of history in that small seedling planted by Avalon’s Environmental Commission in April.

The seedling is a progeny of the legendary Salem Oak, a white oak tree that stood for more than 565 years in Salem, N.J. According to local legend, the tree was the last survivor of the forest that covered Salem County before the founding of the town of Salem, which is about 10 miles south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It is said that Salem founder John Fenwick sat under the shade of the tree and negotiated a peace treaty with the Lenni-Lenape indigenous tribe in 1675.

In 1926, a seedling much like one planted in Armacost Park was planted along George Washington Memorial Parkway in Washington as part of the nation’s sesquicentennial celebration. And a year later, Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis over the Salem Oak on his way from Atlantic City to Wilmington, Del., as part of his triumphant tour of the United States following his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Just a month before the majestic oak succumbed to age and weather in June 2019, acorns were gathered from the tree that stood 103 feet. The acorns were nurtured in a U.S. Forest Service greenhouse into 24-inch oak seedlings.

One of the acorn seedlings made its way to Avalon’s Environmental Commission in order to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the first celebration of Earth Day in 1972 along with the 50th anniversary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

So now the mighty branches from this historic tree extend all the way to the Seven Mile Beach.

Photo caption: A circular fence protects a seedling from the legendary Salem Oak that was planted in Armacost Park.

The Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS Office: 609-368-9100
374 96th Street, Stone Harbor
info@HughMerkle.com
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