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Historical elm relic gavels (two shown above), with ring turned heads and handles. These gavels were made from the wood of the “Washington Elm” tree, described in an accompanying letter from David Lynn, Architect of the Capitol. Lynn also included with his letter a mimeograph copy of an “Extract from 1882 Report of Frederick Law Olmsted on the Trees in the United States Capitol Grounds” discussing the tree. According to Lynn, the tree “succumbed to old age and was removed in June 1948 from the East lawn area of the United States Capitol Grounds; its exact location having been directly opposite (approximately 100 feet East) of the Senate Wing of the United States Capitol Building.”
Lynn attested that “[s]cientific tests and examinations” confirmed the age of the tree at the time to be 160 years old.” He cited an 1882 report by Fredrick Law Olmstead, “the landscape architect who laid out the old Capitol Grounds,” that the tree survived for the original plantings on the Capitol Grounds. Lynn stated that Olmstead “endorsed the tradition that this tree, known for many years as the ‘Washington Elm’, had been planted by George Washington in 1798 when he built his brick house a little to the north of the Capitol.”