Apr 22, 2024 - News

Des Moines' new trees have historic connections to Abraham Lincoln

A photo of trees.

Des Moines' Osage orange tree cuttings were taken in 2019 from trees in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Photos: Courtesy of Amy Schmitz/The Brenton Arboretum

Two Osage orange trees propagated from those near President Abraham Lincoln's gravesite will be planted during an event Monday at Hoyt Sherman Place.

Why it matters: The planting marks the final phase of an outdoor stage and lawn enhancement plan envisioned more than a century ago.

  • Plus, officials will give away 100 red oak saplings to commemorate the project and the theater's centennial.

Flashback: Hoyt Sherman is one of Des Moines' founders and served under Lincoln in the Civil War. His brother, William Tecumseh Sherman, was a famous Civil War general who also served under Lincoln.

  • Hoyt Sherman's mansion near downtown was expanded and transformed into the city's first public art museum by the Des Moines Women's Club a few years after his death in 1904.
  • The club also built the site's Victorian theater, which is frequently used at Hoyt Sherman Place today.

Zoom in: DSM's cuttings come from trees that were growing in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, even before Lincoln was buried there.

If you go: Monday's ceremony includes a General Ulysses S. Grant reenactor, starting at noon.

A photo of a hedge ball.
No hedge apples! DSM's Osage orange trees are male varieties and won't produce fruit like this. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images
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