International World War Peace Tree
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (March 2014)
The tree stands on the northwest corner of St. Joseph Avenue and Orchard Road, surrounded by cornfields. Its relative isolation from the nearby forests makes it easy to identify. In front of the tree is a wooden sign reading, "International World War Peace Tree - Nov. 11, 1918". The date marks the end of World War I. The tree is 40 feet (12 m) tall and is at least 106 years old.
The tree has its origins in Germany. It was brought to the United States in 1912 as a seedling by Joseph Freudenburg, prior to World War I. When the treaty with Germany was signed in 1918, a picnic was held on the property of his sister-in-law Mrs. Wortman, and during the picnic, Freudenburg's tree was transplanted to its current location at the intersection of St. Joseph and Orchard in celebration of the end the war. The planting and dedication of this tree by German American immigrants served as a sign of their loyalty to America and also to build local community harmony.
Freudenburg mounted a flagpole near the tree, but the flagpole has since been removed, although its cement base remains. The garden of flowers that once adorned the tree has also disappeared.
The tree has been maintained since its arrival in America by the same family:
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