By Leslie Wagner, Historian
In 1929 The Dawes Arboretum was established by Beman and Bertie Dawes, propelled by Beman’s determination to inspire others to plant trees. At the time of The Arboretum’s establishment, Ohio was depleted of trees due to a 150-year period of forest removal. Beman, a former industrialist, decided to turn his oil earnings into a nature preservation at his Newark, Ohio, farm where he allowed native species to continue to grow while plantings of non-natives were encouraged for scientific research and public enjoyment. The Arboretum was intended for public touring and offered a view of tree collections that thrived in the mid-Ohio climate. The efforts of the Dawes family contributed to the American Conservation Movement of the early twentieth century and have made The Arboretum a treasure of Licking County.
The History Center exhibit this year will focus on the Arboretum’s history of forestry. Displays will showcase tree plantings at The Arboretum, plant labels from the 1920s to present, wood artifacts Beman and Bertie collected on their travels and the leaf that The Arboretum’s logo is modeled after. Visitors will also learn how the first State Forester of Ohio helped the Dawes family develop The Arboretum’s tree collections. The History Center will be open for the season on April 7 from 1-4pm and then be open every Saturday and Sunday after that through October. Feel free to view the space on your own and join a Daweswood House tour at 1 or 3pm.