Old Saybrook

Centennial Elms: Where are they now?

Centennial elm, Old Saybrook, Photo: Robert Lorenz

On July 4, 1876, eight citizens of Old Saybrook held a town meeting to declare they would plant 56 American elms in honor of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. “Said trees [are] to be known and cared for by the town as the Centennial Trees,” the clerk recorded in Volume 8, page 159 of the records book that resides today at the Town Clerk’s office.

So began the story of Old Saybrook's Centennial elms. The town was not alone; New Haven and villages all over the emerging nation undertook the same project.

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