Freedom Park Tulip Poplar


Tree Location


1409 East Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203

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The original Liberty Tree was an American elm that stood in Boston Common during the colonial era. It received the moniker as it was a gathering place for patriots like Sam Adams before the Revolution. As the fire of revolution spread, each colony established its own Liberty Tree. When the British identified these trees they would be cut down. Liberty Trees were a symbol of freedom, and some early American revolutionary flags bore trees for this reason.

While the original Liberty Trees have fallen, some of their seeds were preserved and cultivated. MarylandTMs Liberty Tree, the last original Liberty Tree left standing,stood on the campus of St. JohnTMs College in Annapolis. Said to be 400 years old, the tree was devastated by Hurricane Floyd in September 1999. Following a ceremony, or a funeral if you will,on October 25, 1999 the tree was taken down.

The Tulip Poplar, located in Freedom Park, is a seedling of that last remaining Liberty Tree. It was given to North Carolina because the state was one of the original thirteen colonies. The tree was planted in 2007, and dedicated by the May 20th Society, American Forests, the Providence Forum, and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. Charlotte is an appropriate home for the tree as the British referred to our city as a hornets nest of revolutionTM during the war.

For some unknown reason, one night in 2010 an assailant made an attempt to cut down North CarolinaTMs Liberty Tree. It seems the tree proved too strong for the culprit, as they only made it halfway through the stem. No one really knows how long the tree was left standing partially sliced through, but when it was reported to Mecklenburg CountyTMs Horticultural Department quick action was taken. Against the recommendations of several arborists, who believed the tree to be lost, Tim Turton (Horticulture Supervisor) and Horticultural staff devised a plan. The tree was guyed adjacent to the cut, and a steel band was bolted vertically over the wound. Tulip poplars are fast growing trees, and Horticulture staff hoped by stabling the tree, it would be able to grow reaction wood around the wound. Thus the tree would eventually be stable on its own.

The tulip poplar is still standing today. The guys have been removed, and an ornate metal fence has been erected around the trunk. The steel band is still visible, and wound wood is forming around the cut. In time the metal band and trunk slice will disappear under years of growth. The tree will recover, and be standing proof that liberty triumphs over all.

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