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Somerset Church Renovation Begins | Community Spirit

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Somerset Church Renovation Begins

SOMERSET, NY – The giant maples that grow to the west of the Somerset Union Methodist Episcopal Church on Lake Road were trimmed to make room for the roofers and painters.  The maples are over sixty feet tall and were hanging over the roof of the church.  With the cutting of these imposing branches it is now possible to view the bell tower. 

The last time any formal landscaping was performed on the church grounds was in 1932 when plans for the beautification of the grounds of the Somerset Union Methodist Episcopal church and parsonage were presented by the pastor at a social meeting on April 23, 1932. The proposal also included other plantings of evergreen trees, shrubs, vines and plants. The committee appointed to direct this work included the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Scott, Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Pox, Raymond Dickinson, Clifford Wyman and Homer Bateman.  The landscape design also included the planting of a Washington tree.  This tree was planted during a dedication ceremony on the church grounds on Tuesday, May 3, 1932.

As the two-hundredth anniversary of George Washington’s birth drew near in 1932, the American Tree Association collaborated with the George Washington Bicentennial Commission to promote civic plantings as memorials to the first president.  The sponsoring of tree planting in honor of Washington, was originally publicized as "Ten Million Monuments to a Great Man." These memorials were not to be “monoliths of marble, not statues of static stone, or dun colored copper or bronze, nor a eulogium written upon perishable parchment, but growing things.” 

As a matter of fact, so enthusiastically was the idea adopted, that before the Bicentennial Celebration had gotten under way, 15,720,624 "Washington" trees were registered with The American Tree Association, and a special marker was offered by nurserymen to distinguish these from "ordinary" trees.   Washington Tree markers come in two sizes: a copper plaque, 2" x 2". nailed to small trees by nurserymen before planting; a zinc alloy tablet, 5" x 6", fastened. to larger trees or mounted on a standard to be placed at the side of the tree after planting. For zinc tablets, individual nameplates are available to bear the names and other commemorative details of patriotic planters.

We have searched the trees at 8501 Lake Road, Barker, NY for the special marker and have been unable to identify the “Washington” tree.  Maybe by 2032, the tricentennial, we will have located it or will dedicate another tree.

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