The Grand Dame of North Queen Street. Source: DNR Big Tree Program.

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz question: Where in Chestertown would you find the American Elm planted over a century ago that grew to be documented as the largest on the Eastern Shore?

A. Washington College
B. North Queen Street
C. 400 High Street
D. None of the above.

This Week’s Answer: B. North Queen Street.

A piece of Chestertown’s living history met its end this week. The American elm located in front of 106 and 108 N. Queen St., the homes of Brian and Kathryn Walters and Ralph Morgan, respectively, was taken down. The elm was planted in the 1910s during a period when street trees were encouraged for beautification and other aesthetic and environmental reasons. In Chestertown, it was led by the Ladies Improvement Society, the beginnings of the Chestertown Garden Club.

The current property owners applied to DNR’s Big Tree program. The tree was declared a Champion American elm in October 2017.

“The tree was there and it was obviously a big tree,” Morgan noted on the impetus for applying to the Big Tree program. The process took six months during which DNR experts catalogued all aspects of the tree before naming it a champion American elm.

The DNR survey issued in October 2017 reported the tree was 99 feet tall, 14 feet in circumference, and the average crown width was 91 feet for a total of 290 Big Tree points.

The tree was reportedly the largest American elm on the Eastern Shore at its demise.

The survey also noted, “Root growth severely restricted on street side. Tree divides in to multiple leaders 20’ above the ground. There is a large dead branch in the crown.”

The history of the Queen Street elm has been well recorded and will become part of the fabric of our town’s history.

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey, local newsman and history sleuth Kevin Hemstock, and columnist Kate Meehan contribute to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion.

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