Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Preacher’s Corner
The linden tree – in Holly Springs, a city of trees
Last time I wrote about the yew tree in Hill Crest Cemetery. While on the subject of trees, let me say a word about another interesting tree you’ll see around Holly Springs – the lindens. Here is another interesting Holly Springs story.
I got interested in the story while making a trip to St. Louis last summer with my friend Frank Brooks, a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Corinth. (He’s Betty Knight’s cousin-in-law!)
We had gone up to watch the Cardinals play, and before coming home, Frank insisted that we visit some St. Louis nurseries in search of a linden tree. He wanted to set one out in their yard in Corinth and said that none of our local nurseries had any lindens for sale. Apparently the linden thrives in Missouri, but is not so common here.
I told Frank that there were lindens in Holly Springs, and he replied that even so, he could not find any for sale in Mid-South nurseries.
Driving around the St. Louis suburbs, I learned to identify linden trees, and that area is indeed filled with them.
Holly Springs got its lindens from the generosity of one of our town’s 19th century mayors, Henry E. Williamson.
The Williamsons bought the interesting old home that stands directly across College Avenue from the Marshall County Historical Museum, now known as “Linden Terrace,” and the home of Jim and Sophia Dunworth of Holly Springs and Balboa, Panama.
John M. Mickle, of The South Reporter, wrote in an article, December 10, 1931, that “the town owes Gen. Williamson a debt of gratitude, for it was under his administration as mayor that many of the beautiful trees that line the streets were planted.”
There is also a linden or two next door in the yard of Eleanor Coopwood. Sam Coopwood was also mayor of Holly Springs.
Mayor Williamson wanted to make Holly Springs “a city of trees,” and he planted the lindens that still surround his home, as well as in a lovely little park that surrounded the Holly Springs Female Institute, which was located where the new Holly Springs High School is located.
There are also lindens along the north side of Van Dorn Avenue around the house known as Linden Hill.
All of these trees are very old, and unusual in our city.
My grandparents’ home in Memphis stands on Linden Avenue. But the tree I remember at their house was a wonderful, aromatic cedar. Like so many memories from my early days, the tree is gone now, and the old place looks lonely without it.
I would be happy to have any information about the linden trees of Holly Springs.
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