A Remarkable Ohio buckeye

Tree Information
Common Name: Ohio buckeye
Scientific name: Aesculus glabra
Category: Historic tree
Notes: On of Richmond's early 19th century city fathers, Dr. John C. Brockenbrough, planted four Ohio Buckeyes on his Shockoe Hill property that commanded the view of the Shockoe Valley and of Richmond's Church Hill. Dr. John C. Brockenbrough was a wealthy physician and the president of the Bank of Virginia. The four Buckeyes were planted along the south portico of the main house. The Brockenbrough property was later sold to the City and used as the executive mansion for President Jefferson Davis and his family during the Civil War. Owing to its use as the Confederate executive mansion, the property became known as the White House of the Confederacy. After the Civil War, the property was used as the headquarters for Reconstruction in Virginia, and the Federal Army occupied the White House. Several of the buckeyes appear in postwar photographs. After Virginia was readmited to the Union, the property became Richmond's Central School, and was used as such until 1894. It was acquired by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society in 1894, and has been the centerpiece of the CMLS Museum of the Confederacy, ever since. The White House is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. By the late 20th Century, only one of the Buckeyes still survived. The superstructure of that tree was blown over during Hurricane Isabel, in September 2003. Through the efforts of the Museum staff and the Virginia Department of Forestry, several grafts were made, and the tree survives in these several successful propagations. The Museum intends to replant the original (albeit small) grafted trees on their original site plan. The entire property and remaining historic landscape is at risk, given the encroachment of multiple high-rise hospital buildings constructed in the immediate area in recent years.
Best time to photograph: Spring or summer, daytime
Nominator: Dean Knight
Location of Tree
County/City: Richmond City
Name of tree owner: Museum of the Confederacy
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Ohio buckeye Identification

 

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