Providing for the Future
Welcome to the "Elms of Honor" Program Page
As part of the site rehabilitation of 2005, the Packard Motor Car Foundation replanted the boulevard trees through the "Elms of Honor" program, spearheaded by Russ Murphy and Jon Ottman of the Proving Grounds Executive Committee. An aerial photo, taken after World War II, was consulted to identify the exact location of each tree as planted by Packard, and with the help of Daimler-Chrysler sponsored volunteers, Ron Cumming, Tim Lanza, and Frank Pilat, stakes were placed in each exact location for the planting of the new trees.
Participants in the program live throughout the U.S., but were predominantly from the communities immediately surrounding the site. These special people provided donations to “adopt” a Princeton elm tree to help restore a major portion of the landscape at the Proving Grounds while remembering a special someone or event in their life. The donations covered the cost of the tree, planting, a two-year maintenance agreement and warranty to ensure the trees have a high chance of survival. Donors will also have a commemorative stainless-steel tree plaque dedicated to their donation that will carefully be attached to the tree with an expandable band that will grow with and not injure the elm. To see the Names of the Elms of Honor Patrons, Click Here.
Why elm trees?
The Foundation is working to restore a National Historic Landscape, which requires the original elm trees to be replaced with exact or very similar species of trees. Elm trees have a special look to them that no other tree can duplicate. Princeton Elms are a true sub-variety of American Elm that has proven to have high resistance to Dutch Elm Disease. Princeton Elms have been used in other reforestation projects around the country, including a project conducted by the National Park Service to add elms to the pedestrian mall on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House. The NPS provided technical assistance for this project.
The elms ordered for the Proving Grounds are 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and are approximately 15 to 19 feet in height. The planting took place April 29 (National Arbor Day) and was performed by a crew from Tom’s Landscaping of Rochester Hills, Mich. under the direction of Joe Alcini.
The pictures below tell the story of the day:
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