The Linden Oak – Bethesda, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

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The Linden Oak

This mighty white oak in Bethesda survived both the American Revolution and the construction of Washington D.C.'s metro red line.  

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Standing at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Beach Drive is a tree known to locals as The Linden Oak. It is one of the largest oaks (Quercus Alba) in the state of Maryland and the largest in Montgomery County. Estimates indicate that this towering specimen seeded in 1718, meaning that it is over 300 years old.

In addition to being on the scene nearly 50 years before the American Revolution, the Linden Oak dodged another brush with death in 1973, when the western portion of the Washington Metro was being constructed.  Former city council member and state senator Idamae Garrott lobbied to push the construction of the Grosvenor Metro Station slightly westward to save the tree in 1973.

Garrott’s legacy lives on with one of three memorial plaques in the area near the Linden Oak recounting her heroic activism in saving the tree. Another plaque placed by the Maryland Centennial Commission and the Maryland Forest Service recognizes the tree as Maryland’s bicentennial tree. A third plaque recounts the tree surviving the American Revolution and predating George Washington’s birth by 25 years.

Update as of July 18, 2023: The Liden Oak has been removed due to being in poor health. The onsite plaques are still present, and a part of it was carved into a bench, which can be found at Ken-Gar Palisades Park in Kensington, Maryland.

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