Liberty Tree

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park » Liberty Tree » Document List

The National Park Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Green Ridge State Forest will plant a Liberty Tree in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park at Oldtown, MD.

The Liberty Tree project is a state initiative to plant seedlings from the historic Maryland Liberty Tree. The historic 400 year old Liberty Tree was a tulip poplar that was used as a rally point for the Maryland colony during the Revolutionary War. The original Liberty Tree died a few years ago, and seedlings were started to perpetuate the importance of the Liberty Tree's place in history. Today, 14 seedlings have been successfully nurtured and are being planted in the thirteen original colonies and one will be presented to the President of the United States.

The location for Maryland's Liberty Tree is within the C&O Canal NHP at Oldtown, the site of Colonel Thomas Cresap's stockade home. Col. Cresap was instrumental in the early westward movement. It was at his home, in 1748, that a 16 year old George Washington spent four days while on a survey expedition. During that visit, the future American leader witnessed his first Native American war dance and scalps.

Col Cresap was involved in the formation of the Sons of Liberty for Frederick County, MD. His son, Michael, fought in the American Revolution. Michael's home still stands in Oldtown, MD. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal interprets Col. Cresap's settlement site, in addition to his grave.

The proposed project would establish the Liberty Tree seedling near the site of the Cresap stockade home. The planting and care of the seedling would be provided by the state forester assigned to Green Ridge State Forest. No other plantings are proposed for this project. A future wayside exhibit associated with this project will be developed by the National Park Service in conjunction with the State of Maryland. The exhibit will become an additional component to the existing interpretive exhibits regarding Col. Cresap.

The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.5 – Installation of signs, displays, and kiosks. The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Exclusions #IV.B 12 – erection of signs, wayside exhibits, and memorial plaques.

Contact Information

For further information about this project, please contact Park Historian, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.