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Hoyt Sherman Place Osage Orange Tree Planting

As the final phase of the Lawn Enhancement Project, Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation will be planting two small Osage-orange*, Maclura pomifera, trees on April 22, 2024, in celebration of Earth Day.

The Ceremony will begin at noon with the planting of the trees, followed by remarks from Hoyt Sherman Place CEO, Robert Warren, The Brenton Arboretum Director of Horticulture and General Manager, Andy Schmitz, and a General Grant reenactor who will share some of his experiences from when he last visited Des Moines and met with Hoyt and William Tecumseh Sherman who served under President Lincoln. Refreshments will follow in the art gallery.

The Osage-orange trees were grown from cuttings collected from a hedge row of Osage-orange trees which were planted in early spring of 1865 at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. These trees witnessed the funeral procession of President Abraham Lincoln and are still growing at his gravesite today. The trees planted at Hoyt Sherman Place will serve as living monuments to Major Hoyt Sherman and his oldest brother, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who both served President Lincoln during the Civil War.

The Osage-orange trees were grown and donated by The Brenton Arboretum in Dallas Center, Iowa.

The new plaza design, which was completed in October 2023, incorporated elements of the original 1910 plan for lawn enhancement created by Charles Mulford Robinson, who was commissioned by the Des Moines Women’s Club soon after they leased the property from the City of Des Moines as their Clubhouse. A subsequent plan in 1926 created by Etta Bardwell, University of Iowa’s first female landscape architect, added additional landscaping and was also commissioned by Des Moines Women’s Club when the theater addition was completed. Nearly 113 years later, those plans have been brought to life.

Major donors to the project were EMC Insurance Companies, Bradford W. Harvey Estate, Polk County Board of Supervisors, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Kemin Industries, Reba A. and Leon G. Benschoter Charitable Fund, Mary Sheldahl, and more than 60 individual donors. To learn more about the project contact Anna Cramer, Development Director, at 515-348-6949.

*Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation will be planting male (non-fruit producing) Osage-orange trees.

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