Text Size Default Text SizeDefault Text Size Large Text SizeLarge Text Size Largest Text SizeLargest Text Size Print Print this Page

White House Tree

This 110-year-old tree comes from the White House!

Whitehouse Tree (Photo By: Kent Booty)

Retired Longwood professor, Edna Allen-Dean, writes about this tree:

"A few yards from the corner of Griffin Boulevard and High Street stand two beautiful magnolia trees. Only a few people in the Farmville area know that these trees came from the grounds of the White House during the administration of President William McKinley.

Robert Evans, formerly of Farmville, Virginia, was a groundskeeper at the White House. Evans was the son of a Reconstruction legislator, William D. Evans, and a relative of Reconstruction state senator J.W.D. Bland.

One day around the year 1898, Evans was probably told to prune a magnolia tree on the grounds. As he prepared to dispose of the cuttings, he decided to save a few branches as gifts for some of his relatives in Farmville, hoping that the branches would become trees. Seven of these branches did become trees in Farmville. However, five were in the path of Longwood College expansion and only the two remain, both of which will probably meet the same fate.*

Robert Evans gave two of his magnolia branches to Pompey Bland, who was the brother of Senator Bland. The former had recently built a beautiful home near the corner of Griffin Blvd. and High Street. Pompey Bland planted his gift on each side of the walkway leading to his home. "

Sadly, one of those trees recently died; however, the remaining one will be protected, and additional cuttings are being taken for future plantings.

(From The Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project)