Historic Corydon landmark being restored for Indiana’s 200th birthday
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---In the small town of Corydon, Ind., work is underway on an important landmark.
It’s a tree that some locals consider a hidden treasure.
“It's probably the number one site that I think is a secret that people don't know about,” said Susan McGuffey, who lives next door to the tree.
The tree is known as the Constitution Elm, where it's said history was forever changed in Indiana.
“The tradition holds that the delegates from the Constitution Convention actually wrote part of Indiana's constitution under that tree in 1816,” said Laura Van Fossen, the Program Developer at the Indiana State Museum.
By December of the same year, history changed.
“Indiana officially became a state,” Van Fossen said.
It’s history that residents want to hold on to.
Over the years, the tree died from a disease and had to be cut down. Now, all that remains is a stump.
There’s an effort this weekend to restore and conserve it.
“Every layer that we take off, we keep finding more ... what other people did in the past,” Chris Stock said.
Stock and Lori Arnold traveled all the way from Philadelphia just to help the historic tree.
“I responded to an RFP put out by the Indiana State Museum,” said Arnold, who owns Arnold Wood Conservation in Philadelphia.
This weekend, they'll be working to clean it up and repair what's been lost.
“The timing was perfect. We actually found a several-hundred-year-old elm tree that had been chopped down. We can use those parts to repair this one,” Stock said
They say it's a piece of history that they're hoping Indiana residents can continue to hold onto.
“We hope to leave it in better shape for another 100 years and we'll do the best we can,” Stock said.
As the state of Indiana is fast approaching its 200th birthday in 2016, residents want to make sure the tree that started it all will still be around.
“That's very inspiring for somebody that lives in a big city on the east coast where preservation is viewed a little differently. It's invigorating and inspirational,” Arnold said.
When the tree was previously cut down from an elm disease, pieces of the tree were saved and can still be found in the town of Corydon.
“I just think it's a great symbol for our Hoosier heritage and everything that Indiana stands for and that's why it's so dear to so many people's hearts here in Indiana,” Van Fossen said.
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