The Newark Shade Tree Commission 1908

In 1908, The Newark Shade Tree Commission published a small, profusely illustrated pamphlet extolling the benefits of shade trees. Many persons, myself included, may have thought that the interest in, and appreciation of, the shade tree was a new phenomena brought about by the current focus on environmental issues . However, upon reflection , I came to the realization that the small town that I grew up in had a functioning Shade Tree Commission dating from the early years of the twentieth century just as Newark had. Apparently, this interest in shade trees was a part of the larger City Beautiful movement which held sway in the late 19th and early 20th century. The City Beautiful movement encompassed  not only grand public structures ,img_5066

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such as, courthouses, libraries and statues, but also healthy and attractive neighborhoods.This  small booklet made it abundantly clear that shade trees were valued  for many of the same reasons they’re valued today ! Among  the reasons were: shade, increased property values and beautiful streets. The Newark street I live is lined with trees and I’m grateful for it.

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