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Maryland Loses Bicentennial Tree

One of Maryland’s remaining Bicentennial Trees ─ a black oak on the grounds of St. John’s Chapel in Phoenix, Baltimore County ─ was blown down by hurricane Sandy on October 29.

This tree was originally identified in 1976 as most likely alive at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. An official Bicentennial Plaque is nearby. There are only a handful of living Bicentennial Trees remaining in Maryland. The last lost was the Holly Hall Oak in Elkton in April, 2010.

In 1976, the DNR Forest Service published a booklet entitled Maryland’s Bicentennial Trees and a Listing of Species of Trees Believed to be Living in Maryland in 1776, identified through increment bore samples and local history and growth patterns. A total of 292 trees were identified statewide.

In 2009, members of the Maryland Big Tree Program were made aware of the project and the publication by an owner of one of the remaining Bicentennial Trees in Harford County. Volunteers from the Maryland Big Tree Program and local Forestry Boards are working on locating, measuring and updating this list so it will be ready for the nation’s 250th anniversary. Since the project began, the volunteers have located over several dozen trees still alive.

More information and a list of Bicentennial Trees are available at