Posted on

The Largest Sugar Maple

Very big sugar maple

“If you want to learn something, hang out with people smarter than you are”, so said a wise man.  We took a tree walk on Friday on a beautiful afternoon and learned a lot.  The setting was the revived Knights of Pythias – Greenwood Cemetery at Adams Avenue and Ramona Street.

Leading the group was Dr. David Hewitt from the Academy of Natural Sciences, a very amiable fellow who never made me feel ignorant.  Along with Dr. Hewitt was Edward (Ned) Barnard who is famous in his own right as the author of “New York City Trees” as well as a very nice series of children’s books.

I have a slide show ready at this link of a sampling of the trees we found along our journey.  (If you click on Show Info button at the top right it will display the captions.)

The most spectacular to me was the sugar maple that hugs the side of the cemetery along Ramona Avenue.  It stands 72 feet high and is 15 feet around the base.  That makes the diameter about 56 inches.  Ned took careful measurements and pictures of course.  You don’t see many that large, so I am told.

We also saw American Sycamore, White Cedar, Black Cherry, Silver Maple, Pin Oak, Willow, Horse Chestnut and Norway Maple.  I may have forgotten some but I noted them on the captions of the pictures.  What we did not find was evidence any plantings dating back to the 18th century.  The trees appear to date to about when the cemetery was planned and laid out.

I also took some pictures of the area of the cemetery not yet restored which you can see here.  Doctor Hewitt mentioned that the rear of the cemetery is actually an early successional forest.  The trouble is the forest has taken over the grave areas and so interspersed with the trees are burials and tomb stones.  They are clearly working on restoring it and it should actually be very nice when that is done.

It was interesting that even among all that overgrowth, we found a new stone recently put down in memory of a Civil War soldier.

It was a great way to spend the afternoon and painlessly educational.


Posted on

Greenwood Estate at Rush Farm

Sometime, things do work out.  What has been a long campaign waged by several neighborhood groups is showing some real results.  The groundbreaking for the reconstruction of the Greenwood Estate at Rush Farm was held on Friday, April 30th.  It was a beautiful day and a good crowd of the folks who made it all possible was on hand.

The house, located on property once owned by Founding Father Dr. Benjamin Rush, was recently named Greenwood Estate at Rush Farm. Speakers at the event include Cornel Williams, Manager, Philadelphia Healthcare Properties, Inc., Michelle Mardenborough, President, Greenwood Cemetery, Joanne Clare, Chief Director, Friends of Greenwood, and Barry Howell, President of Northwood Civic Association.

Participating elected officials included State Reps. Anthony Payton and John Taylor, along with City Councilman Daryl Clarke. They were joined by special guest 90-year-old Betty Ewart, who lived in the cemetery caretaker’s house as a young girl, and community leaders, the new cemetery owners and preservation team members. They all worked together in an unprecedented effort to save this beloved but neglected 19th century residence from the wrecker’s ball.

Below you can see a short video of the ceremony and an exclusive look inside the first floor of the house.