Elms of Honor: Replanting the PPG’s Historic Treeline (Part 1)

The image is striking: driving up to a gate backlit by treetops.

Photo credit to Mark Smucker.

One of the most scenic areas of the Packard Proving Grounds welcomes visitors when they first arrive. Just behind the original (and now refurbished) arched gateway is the Packard Proving Grounds boulevard. This stretch of pavement invites visitors to experience the beauty of the site in full: to take a stroll, tour the grounds, or prepare for an on-site event.

More than eighty fully-grown Princeton Elm trees line the boulevard. The trees are immediate eye-catchers, adding a touch of natural elegance to a location known for its exceptional architectural design.

If you’re not too busy admiring the elegant foliage or basking in the shade, however, read the stainless-steel plaque affixed to each tree. A name is engraved on each one: the person for whom the tree has been planted. On some, it’s the name of an altruistic donor. Some feature the name of a loved one who has passed, or a grandchild who’s just been born. Or a serviceman or servicewoman who fought for our country.

These are the Packard Proving Grounds Elms of Honor.

The Elms of Honor program was (and is) part of the site’s ongoing commitment to restoring the PPG’s original construction. When a need for new trees on the boulevard occurred, the community stepped in to make sure that goal succeeded. Donors from across the country provided the funding needed to replant enough trees to line the entire boulevard. From this funding came the “adoption” of each tree by their respective donor, who planted the tree in honor of a special someone.

We’re grateful to the generous people who donated to this incredible project, and helped preserve the original intentions for the site’s design. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, and learn more details about PPG’s historic trees and how they were replanted!

Interested in learning more about the Elms of Honor program, or making a similar donation to the Packard Proving Grounds? Contact the site to learn more about donation opportunities.

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