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Beman and Bertie Dawes looked to the future by planting trees at The Dawes Arboretum but also used trees to represent the past. In 1927 they began a tradition of honoring distinguished individuals and groups with living tributes, in the form of trees.

The Dawes Arboretum has celebrated over 100 tree dedications since former Ohio Governor, James M. Cox, became our first tree dedicator in 1927. A bronze plaque located at the base of the tree tells you who the tree is dedicated to, who it is dedicated by, accomplishments and the date of the dedication.

In addition to the plaque, it is tradition for dedicator to “sign” the ceiling of the Daweswood House basement, otherwise known as the Rathskeller. Early tree dedicators initialed the ceiling with soot from a burning candle. Because of space limitation, more recent dedicators have signed the ceiling with a marking pen. The Rathskeller also houses the shovels used by the dedicators.

Notable dedicators include: Orville Wright, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jesse Owens, Colonel John H. Glenn Jr. and Jack Hanna.  Click here for a list of our Tree Dedicators.