Erie Cemetery
  Aug 04, 2006 19:54 PDT 

Sorry it's been so long to post on recent finds. I've got a huge
backlog, but I'll try to give a brief overview of my findings in my big
tree surveys at the Erie Cemetery, Erie County, Erie, PA. The cemetery
is located in the NW corner of PA and probably no more than 2 miles
south of Lake Erie.

ec_tulip3_14_3x130_2.jpg (97224 bytes) 
Erie Cemetery tuliptree 14.3 cbh x 130.2 feet tall 

According to the cemetery's website:

The Erie Cemetery was dedicated on May 20th, 1851. The first
Superintendent of the Erie Cemetery was Capt. Samuel Low, a civil
engineer, who also served as City Surveyor.

A number of colorful and historical people are buried here including
Gen. Strong Vincent who died of his wounds on Little Round Top during
the infamous battle of Gettysburg:

Here is a link to some photos of the cemetery:

This cemetery is a treasure trove of large old tuliptrees,

ec_tulips.jpg (121468 bytes)
Erie Cemetary Tuliptrees

cucumbertrees, N. red oaks, and white oaks with a smattering of handsome
black walnuts. Of course, there are a number of nice exotics in here
too, but since my knowledge on exotics is limited, I just measured trees
that I could positively identify for now. This would be a great place
for an exotic tree species ID course.

ec_cuke1.jpg (171501 bytes)
Cucumbertree 13.3 x 72.4 HUGE burled buttress base, 23ft CBH
at 1.5ft off the ground!
ec_cuke2.jpg (110229 bytes)

What really jumps out to me at this site were the massive tulips that
greet you upon entry through the gates. Girths were most impressive
here. For NW PA, the tuliptrees, oaks, and cukes here were impressive
ranging from 13-16ft CBH, ie: we had many more entries that made our
12x100 club. "Knarl" factor was quite impressive here. Ancient crown
architecture was prevalent throughout the site. Although the cemetery
is now 155 years old, I believe a number of these trees could have been
forest remnants that could easily reach the 200 year age class or

oak_sp1.jpg (125183 bytes)
Large Oak
oak_sp3.jpg (121785 bytes)

This cemetery not only functions as a resting place for those who have
gone on before us, but also serves as a type of "city park" where many
go during their busy days to escape the hustle of daily life in the
city. The grounds are beautiful. Steve Lydic, grounds supervisor, does
a super job maintaining the site. I actually ran into him one day. a
couple of his crewman gave him a "heads-up" that some crazy guy was
running around talking to trees and trying to wake up the dead with some
form of periodic ape call. sorry, slight exaggeration there. We were
glad to get together though for a short time while I was there and talk

oak_sp4.jpg (124517 bytes) oak_sp5.jpg (107649 bytes)
Large Oak

They have a nice plot diagram at the website below:

Here's my "interpretation" of some of these plot sections that may help
to give you a picture of where some of these trees are located:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 25, S = eternal oaks
13, A, B, E, F, G, H, J, L, M = tulip ecstasy
19 = guardian angel oak
28 = cuke heaven

Here's a rundown of site stats:

Species            CBH     Height   Comments

Black walnut      10.7      81.2
Black walnut      9.8        104

Cucumbertree    13.3      72.4      HUGE burled buttress base, 23ft CBH
at 1.5ft off the ground!
Cucumbertree    12.6      82
Cucumbertree    9.3        83.2
Cucumbertree    14.7      85.2

E. white pine     7.7        83

N. red oak         15.8      71.2
N. red oak         14.2      81.5
N. red oak         13.7      84.8
N. red oak         13.9      85.2
N. red oak         13.8      87.1
N. red oak         15         92.9
N. red oak         15         96.4

Norway spruce   5.8        98.8

Scarlet oak        15.9      92.3      species?, guardian angel oak-plot
19 above          

Sugar maple      10         87.4
Sugar maple      9.1        91.2

Tulipitre             13.3      105.2
Tuliptree            13.7      105.3
Tuliptree            13.3      111.2
Tuliptree            14.2      120.4
Tuliptree            15         121.4
Tuliptree            13.8      122.67
Tuliptree            14.8      123.4
Tuliptree            14.3      130.2

White oak         13.7      75.6
White oak         14.4      81.6
White oak         13.2      81.8
White oak         15.6      82.6
White oak         13.1      90.3
White oak         13.2      91.2
White oak         13.2      93.9

The large "scarlet oak" above was listed in the 1993 PFA big tree pub as
the PA state champ, but darned if I can't find any scarlet oak
characters on it. I've got bark striping and leaf shape like N. red
oak, but a burled/buttressed base resembling scarlet oaks after a
chestnut blight infestation. All the buds are out of reach, and I
haven't been back yet to check acorns. Either way, it's still an
impressive tree at 15.9ft CBH x 84ft spread x 92.3ft high for 304.1 AF

So, if anyone ever has to spend a night over in the Erie area, and
doesn't have much time to explore, you don't even have to leave your
vehicle to see this site. Being an Erie native myself, I'm very proud
that such a site exists right smack dab in the middle of the city. The
city of Erie is indebted to the long deceased Capt. Low. This man new
what he was doing.


RE: Erie Cemetery
  Aug 10, 2006 12:53 PDT 

Bob, Anthony,

The first time I "scouted" this site was from a car a couple of years ago when
my broken ankle was on the mend. It's a nice place to go when you're immobile
or don't have a lot of time.

Just don't leave your data book sitting out underneath a tree unattended...
while I was getting a crown measurement on the scarlet oak in question, I
propped up my yellow all-weather data book then skirted to the top of a nearby
hill for a cosine measurement. When I turned around to take the measurement, a
roving "local" who must have hopped the cemetery fence went tearing past the
tree and scooped up my data book (contained about a year and half of data) as a
souvenir. I yelled down in a deep voice from above, "THAT'S OK, YOU CAN LEAVE
THAT THERE!" The lad did a ducking double-take to his rear, then promptly
replaced the book. Thankfully, I didn't have call down the wrath of the
Almighty. Wonder went through the kid's mind when he heard a loud voice
calling down from above in a cemetery. Erie... what a great place.


  Quoting Anthony Kelly:


Those are some nice girths. It's good to see that some urban areas have
been able to maintain cemeteries and parks over long enough periods of time
to get such nice trees. It reminds me that I should be roaming around the
vast Pittsburgh parks more. (Actually, I'm sort of saving that for when the
gasoline prices get so high that I won't be able to travel out to the
forests as much as I do now.)

Come to think of it I don't think I ever posted the tree data I collected in
West Park on Pittsburgh's North Side back in February. I'll try to get
around to that next week.

Anthony Kelly