The Capital (Annapolis, MD.), December 19, 2001

Copyright 2001 Capital-Gazette Communications, Inc. The Capital (Annapolis, MD)

December 19, 2001, Wednesday
SECTION: Police Beat; Pg. A15
LENGTH: 235 words
HEADLINE: Liberty Tree seedling moved to avoid axe

WASHINGTON _ One of the last known descendants of the Annapolis Liberty Tree has been wrenched from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

The 45-foot tulip poplar planted in 1978 in Washington was eased into a new home yesterday to avoid bulldozers beginning work on the $ 265 million Capitol Visitors Center in the spring.

At 100 tons of tree, root and soil, the Liberty seedling is the largest and last of eight Memorial Trees on the Capitol grounds that are being painstakingly moved. Its roots alone are 24 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Once relocated, the trees will be spared the chain saw that has destroyed three of their neighbors and is scheduled to level 65 more trees on the Capitol's East Lawn.

"You'd always wish that they wouldn't have to disturb it, but it's good that they're making this major effort," said former senator Charles McC. Mathias, the Maryland Republican who planted the Liberty seedling in 1978.

The Liberty seedling was one of four known offspring of the Liberty Tree on the campus of St. John's College. The tree was felled after suffering serious damage during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Mr. Mathias was among several current and former lawmakers who applied pressure on Capitol planners to dissuade them from the cheaper and easier course of chopping down all the trees blocking construction.

The government is paying $ 1 million for the tree-care project.