The Linden Oak

March 19, 2024

MikeC_IMG_1049 (004)b


Photographers: Mike Carey (top), Joli McCathran (bottom)
Summary Authors: Jim Foster; Mike Carey 

Shown above is a community bench carved from the state of Maryland’s former champion white oak, known as the Linden Oak (top photo). Taken down in 2023 after it had died and was deemed a safety concern, it was at the time the biggest white oak in Maryland, standing 97 ft (30 m) tall with a crown that spread out 132 ft (40 m) -- bottom photo. It likely first sprouted in the early 1700s, well before the Declaration of Independence was written and even before George Washington was born. The Linden Oak is nicknamed the $2 million tree since the track of Washington D. C.'s Metro’s Redline was shifted slightly during its construction in 1973 to spare the tree. The estimated cost of the re-routing (in 1973) was $2 million dollars.  

After it was felled, a portion of its trunk was then hauled about 1 mile (1.6 km) away to Ken-Gar Palisades Park, in the same stream valley as the Linden Oak, but with heavier foot traffic. This is where the bench was carved. Happily, the remnants of this once splendid tree didn't end up as mere splinters -- or as desks for state officials. Top photo taken in January 2024; bottom photo taken in 2018.

Kensington, Maryland Coordinates: 39.0257, -77.0764

Related Links:
Maryland’s Bicentennial Tree Project
Wye Oak Clone in Maryland
Maryland Wye Oak