Lafayette Elm, Kennebunk, ca. 1900

Contributed by Brick Store Museum


The Lafayette Elm was named for General Lafayette's visit to Kennebunk in 1825. The Marquis de Lafayette, in the U.S. often known simply as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. A close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. The tree was not planted to honor his visit but named for him.

In the 1960s, it was struck with Dutch elm disease and by the 1970s, most of the elm trees that lined the streets of Kennebunk's community were gone--including the famed Lafayette Elm. It is estimated that 1,200 trees had to be removed.

The Layfayette elm was measured in 1920, when it had a height of 131 feet and a girth of 17 feet, 3 inches, covering more than an acre of lawn near the old Storer Mansion.

Iconography of the tree appears throughout town as of 2016. Kennebunk Savings Bank uses the tree emblem in its logo, and it also appears in the official seal for the Town of Kennebunk.

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About This Item

  • Title: Lafayette Elm, Kennebunk, ca. 1900
  • Creator: Charles Kelley
  • Creation Date: circa 1900
  • Subject Date: circa 1900
  • Location: Kennebunk, York County, ME
  • Media: Glass Negative
  • Dimensions: 10 cm x 12 cm
  • Local Code: 3600.37
  • Collection: Mabel Kelley Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Brick Store Museum
117 Main Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 985-4802

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