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San Francisco, California

Arch of Colonial Trees

Thirteen trees representing the original thirteen US colonies were planted with soil from historic Revolutionary battlefields. 

Once topped by flags declaring their native state alliance, the thirteen trees that make up the Arch of Colonial Trees near the Pioneer Cabin are now easy to miss. 

Today, a small marker on a nearby boulder is the only indication that they are something special. The trees were planted in October 1896, following the end of the California Midwinter International Exhibition. During the fair, the meadow was home to a very popular recreation of an 1849 gold miner’s camp.

The Sequoia chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution selected and planted the trees using soil from famous revolutionary battlefields and a silver trowel allegedly used by Martha Washington at Mount Vernon. Each tree is a different type, native to the area it represents. The center tree — a hemlock representing Pennsylvania — included earth from the Paris grave of M. de Layfayette. The dedication ceremony was held to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the 1781 surrender of the Battle of Yorktown.

In March 2012, a dedication ceremony and planting session was held by La Puerta de Oro, the contemporary San Francisco chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution of San Francisco, to replace the magnolia for South Carolina and a hemlock for Pennsylvania.