by Sarah Manning on 9/27/23
Just before 10am on a sunny, calm September 19, 2023 on the grounds of the London Grove Friends Meeting House in Kennett Square Pennsylvania, teachers and students at the Kindergarten and those at Archie’s Store heard the PA State Champion White Oak Tree fall to the ground. The 80-foot tree had the benevolence to avoid harming anyone and the caretaker’s historic house. The tree only damaged parts of the garage to its south.
The London Grove Penn Oak is believed to have been here when William Penn arrived in 1682, but began its life in the company of the Lenni Lenape. In the more than three centuries since, it witnessed the creation of Pennsylvania and The United States, the Industrial Revolution, the end of slavery, two world wars, and the election of every American President. As it grew taller, the mighty tree watched as we built the Meeting House; held Meetings for worship, business, marriage, and memorial services; had family reunions, picnics, celebrations, conversations, and peaceful reflection.
Generations of children that have attended the London Grove Friends Kindergarten learned about nature and played games in the acre of its shade. Hundreds of people are buried in the graveyard just to the west of where the magnificent tree stood. For many decades, countless acorns from the London Grove Oak Tree have sprouted and are growing in the surrounding area.
The London Grove Friends are planning to gather together and will use its wood to honor the centuries of profound contributions the Penn Oak Tree made. We understand the importance of visiting the spot where the old oak tree stood and ask that visitors stay behind the safety tape and markers, follow the directions of workers, and refrain from removing any parts of the tree. Information about public events will be posted on our website www.londongrovemeeting.org. In the meantime, we ask that the public respect our privacy as we grieve this loss and decide what will follow.