76 trees to be planted in Independence Park

An actor portraying Thomas Jefferson helps plant a new tree in Independence National Historic Park. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

An actor portraying Thomas Jefferson helps plant a new tree in Independence National Historic Park. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia has begun planting 76 new trees, anticipating a mature canopy in time for the nation’s sestercentennial in 2026.

The trees will include a variety of species, all historically accurate to 18th century Philadelphia. They will be scattered throughout the 55 acres of  the park, planted over the course of several years at a cost of $380,000 — a gift from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Planting and maintaining a new tree to maturity inside an historic urban park requires exceptional effort, said Patrick Suddath, acting park superintendent.

“There’s compliance, historic resources,” he said. “There are significant archaeological resources in every part of the park. It’s a more complex thing than digging a hole and planting a street tree.”

The Daughters of the American Revolution donated the cost of the trees, getting ready for the country’s 250th birthday in 2026. The patriotic lineage organization has donated much toward conservation of Independence Hall and the surrounding park, including 13 trees representing the 13 colonies for America’s sesquicentennial in 1926.

Since the beginning, trees have been potent symbols for America. DAR Secretary-General Denise VanBuren cited a pine tree flag, “An Appeal to Heaven,” flown aboard military ships during the Revolutionary War, and the famous Liberty Tree — an elm tree near Boston Common under whose canopy discontented Colonists gathered.

“We know that, like our nation, they will weather storms, survive droughts, and reach forever upward,” said VanBuren. “Like our people, they will branch out and grow stronger over the passage of time.”

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