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Tree Planted By Andrew Jackson Removed From White House

January 1, 2018

Over the Holiday break there was a news story about a most historic tree which needs mentioning as we start 2018.  There was no way this slice of history was going to miss a posting on CP.

An enormous magnolia tree which stood watch by the South Portico of the White House for nearly two centuries has been removed. Its dark green, glossy leaves shaded politicians and heads of state over the span of its lifetime. Its ivory flowers bloomed through times of peace and war. It was the oldest tree on the White House grounds having stood there proud and tall for 39 presidencies.

But the iconic magnolia was simply too old and badly damaged to remain rooted in its place of history and was removed.

According to White House lore, the stately evergreen was brought to Washington as a seedling by Andrew Jackson. The magnolia was a favorite tree of his wife, Rachel, who had died just days after he was elected. Jackson blamed the vicious campaign — during which his political opponents questioned the legitimacy of his marriage — for his wife’s untimely death.

The new planting, which came from the couple’s Tennessee farm, the Hermitage, would serve as a living monument to her in the place she despised; before her death, Rachel had reportedly said, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than live in that palace at Washington.”

Long after Jackson left office, his magnolia remained. Other trees were planted to supplement it, and the tree became a fixture in White House events. Herbert Hoover reportedly took breakfast and held Cabinet meetings at a table beneath its sprawling branches. Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke with Winston Churchill in its shade. Richard Nixon strode past it as he left the White House for the last time after his resignation.

I found a photo of two leaders–President Truman and Senator Harry Truman–lunching under that famed tree.

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