Roadside Oaks, and the Friendship Elm Barry Caselli
  February 07, 2009

Yesterday I took a quick roadtrip to measure the Friendship Elm, as I call it.
To get to where that tree is from here, I have to drive through the little village of Lower Bank, in Washington Township (Burlington County). Lower Bank dates to the early 18th century. In front of one house there is a huge oak tree. The house next door has another, which is almost as big. I and some friends were in Lower Bank a few years ago, admiring the bigger of the two trees, when I woman through open her upstairs window and asked if we were admiring her tree. We said yes, and she explained that a naturalist came by one day, asking if he could core it to see how old it was. She told us that she wouldn't let him, and that the naturalist had to take his best guess. She told us that he had said 375 years. That seems too old for the size of the tree, and too old for the age of the village. My memory may be off a bit, and she may have actually told us 275. I'm not sure. At any rate, I took some pictures through the windshield of my truck yesterday on my
 way up to Friendship. One day maybe I will stop by and ask if I could measure the CBH. I will send a couple pictures later.

So I went on to Friendship. Frienship is in the far northern part of Wharton State Forest, and is a ghost town. It was a small village associated with a cranberry growing business called Frienship Bogs, which shut down in the mid 20th Century. The last two families to live there moved out in the late 1950s, or possibly the early 1960s. The few buildings were subsequently burned down by arsonists, very soon after. What you can find there today is a grassy field full of cellar holes and foundations, with a nice, good sized Elm tree in it, along with some younger Pitch Pines and a few Yucca plants. Surrounding this field are regular Pine Barrens forests and cedar swamps, along with all the old Friendship Bogs. I measured the Elm tree at 8' 4" CBH. I will send a photo of it later.  Incidentally, I measured a large Pitch Pine there with a CBH of 5' 10 1/2". The top is broken off and laying on the ground nearby, and the tree has a large scar on the trunk
 from the ground up.
Also if I can find it, I've got a photo of a nice Colonial Revival house on US 30 in Egg Harbor City that had two beautiful Elm trees in front of it. Unfortunately the Elm trees died several years ago. I'm not sure if it was due to drought, or Dutch Elm Disease or what. What's left are the two stumps, which reach as high as the second story windows on the house.

Here are pictures of the two oaks I mentioned in Lower Bank. I did not
measure them:

Here are two pictures of the 8' 4" Friendship Elm, mentioned below.

The first picture showing its Fall Foliage in 2002, and the second
picture was taken a few days ago.

Also a scenic picture taken near the Elm:

Also the twin Elms in Egg Harbor City that died a few years after I
took the picture:
The stumps are still there, reaching to the tops of the lower story
windows of that house. I know the trees were dead when they were cut.

Here is the old 5' 10 1/2" Pitch Pine at Friendship, mentioned below:

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