Violent thunderstorms uproot history

    The 50 mile-an-hour winds during Thursday’s violent storm knocked down trees all over the Philadelphia region, damaging homes and cars. Some people are just as worried about trees as they are about property. Some of those uprooted trees were historic.

    The 50 mile-an-hour winds during Thursday’s violent storm knocked down trees all over the Philadelphia region, damaging homes and cars. Some people are just as worried about trees as they are about property. Some of those uprooted trees were historic.

    Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia is the oldest arboretum in America, established by the pioneering American botanist John Bartram in the 18th century. One of the garden’s magnolia trees was planted 150 years ago and grew to be over 100 feet high. It blew over, leaving a 10 foot-wide pit where its roots used to be.

    Another tree – a 60-foot Yellowwood – was planted 200 years ago by John Bartram’s son, William. The director of the garden, Louise Turan, says the storm ripped off six of its limbs, leaving only one.

    “It looks like twisted steel. Like when you’re a kid and take a soft green stick and you try to bend it in half. It’s a raw break. It’s painful to look at. It hurts.”

    Other gardens in the area survived the storm intact. Morris Arboretum in Northwest Philadelphia reports all of its trees and buildings remain unscathed.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.