Queens University Maidenhair Tree


Tree Location


1830 Queens Rd
Charlotte, NC 28207

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Queens University's Harris Welcome Center was originally built in the mid 1900s by Cameron Morris just before his successful bid for the North Carolina Governorship in 1920. Governor Morris had but one daughter, Angelia, with his late wife Lottie May before she died in 1919.

In the early 1930s Angelia Morrison fell in love with the well liked businessman and philanthropist John Harris. Now a former US Senator, Cameron Morris, gave the house at 1830 Queens Road to his new son-in-law and daughter. While living at the stately home, John and Angelia had 3 children; Cammie, Sara, and Johnnie.

Mrs. Harris had an affinity for horticulture, and particularly possessed an affection for maidenhair trees (Ginkgos). Angelia planted several ginkgo trees around her home including one at the rear and two, a male and female, opposite from one another along the front of the house. These two trees grew together as arboreal man and wife, distinguishing the Harris house from the other homes along Queens road, and giving the Harris children a place to climb and play.

As the years past, the area along Queens Road became more congested, and with the children out of the house, the Harrises decided it was time to move. Ever the philanthropist John donated the house to Queens University in the early 1970s. Female ginkgo trees produce a fruit that when stepped on smells reminiscent of vomit, so as a service to the University the Harrises had the female removed.

Today the widowed male ginkgo stands solitary in front of the Queens University Harris Welcome Center as one of the largest ginkgo trees in North Carolina. The genus Ginkgo is unique unto itself, as although they are broadleaf deciduous trees, they are more closely related to pine trees than oaks.

In epilogue, the Harris children went on to be successful in their own right, and were highly involved in the development of the Ballantyne area of Charlotte. Next time you are passing through the intersection of Johnston Rd and Ballantyne Commons Parkway notice the multiple rows of ginkgo trees planted at all four corners of the roadways. These were planted for Angelia Harris as a living memorial to her life and love of trees.

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