- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

ASSOCIATED PRESS
One of the last known descendants of the Liberty Tree has been wrenched from the earth on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.
The 45-foot tulip poplar, planted in 1978 in Washington, was eased into a new home yesterday to avoid bulldozers beginning work on the $265 million Capitol Visitors Center in the spring.
At 100 tons of tree, root and soil, the Liberty seedling is the largest and last of eight Memorial Trees on the Capitol grounds that are being painstakingly moved. Its roots alone are 24 feet wide and 3 feet deep.
Once relocated, the trees will be spared the chain saw that has destroyed three of their neighbors and is scheduled to level 65 more trees on the Capitol's East Lawn.
"You'd always wish that they wouldn't have to disturb it, but it's good that they're making this major effort," former Sen. Charles McC. Mathias, a Maryland Republican who planted the Liberty seedling back in 1978, said of the transplant operation.
The Liberty seedling is one of four known offspring of the Liberty Tree in Annapolis, which was fatally damaged by a storm in 1999.
The Liberty Tree stood on the campus of St. John's College, sheltering students long after it had sheltered revolutionaries, and only three others of its offspring are known to be alive.
Mr. Mathias was among several current and former lawmakers who applied pressure on Capitol planners to dissuade them from the easier course of chopping down the trees blocking construction.
The government is paying $1 million for the tree care project, which will include daily monitoring of the transplanted trees for five years.
"I've seen other places where the government spends money, and I'd say we're going to get more out of this one," Mr. Mathias said.

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