In the early 1920s, 400 sycamore trees were planted along a 12-mile stretch of the Susquehanna Trail, from Jacobus to the Maryland Line in York County, Pa. The Road of Remembrance, as it was named, was created in honor of those who served in World War I.
Fast forward almost a century to a chilly Sunday morning this past October, and to a group of Penn-Mar volunteers who showed up at Penn-Mar North, located on the Susquehanna Trail in Glen Rock, to begin the first phase of hopefully replacing all of the little more than 200 of those original 400 trees, which over the years have been lost to, among other things, neglect, development, blight and vehicle accidents.
The Road of Remembrance Veterans Memorial was originally spearheaded by the local York County War Mothers Club in response to a national initiative by President Warren G. Harding (29th President, 1921 to 1923) to plant tree allées (tree- or shrub-lined walkways or streets) along major roadways to honor veterans of WWI, and to beautify the nation’s roads. Six thousand York countians served, and 196 died in the “War to End All Wars.” The Susquehanna Trail was the main route south from York to Baltimore, prior to the construction of I-83.
The recent initiative to replace the some 200 trees along the Road of Remembrance was created by Dr. Shelly Monk Riedel, a Glen Rock native. She established the Trees for the Trail Committee made up of the Rotary Clubs of York, Southern York County and Dallastown/Red Lion and other community leaders, including Penn-Mar, who on Oct. 14th hosted more than 100 volunteers at Penn-Mar North to begin the first phase in the tree replanting.
In all, 61 trees were replaced on that chilly day along the Road to Remembrance Veterans Memorial, and according to Jackie Summers, Penn-Mar Senior Director of Development, another planting will take place in the spring, with all 200 trees replaced by the fall of next year, just in time for the sycamores’ centennial. In addition, this time round, maple and oak trees will be interspersed with the sycamores to ward off potential blight in the future.
“The show of support for the planting of the Trees for the Trail was overwhelming,” said Jackie. “We were expecting maybe 40 to 60 people, and 125 community-wide volunteers showed up that day. It was very heartwarming to see our Penn-Mar group who wanted to come and participate and be a part of this really important community event.”
The Penn-Mar volunteers got right in there with their shovels and went to work planting a sycamore. In all, nine trees were planted on Penn-Mar’s property, which still has several of the original sycamores. John Thibert, a member of the Penn-Mar Maintenance Team was on hand with the forklift to assist with unloading and moving the young trees.
“Our Penn-Mar volunteers were smiling from ear-to-ear,” said Jackie. “They were happy to work side by side with the other volunteers to bring that project to fruition. Everyone showed great teamwork and great comradery.”