Elm Hall Namesake: The Elm Tree

Elm Hall

The Elm Tree

The Elm, which is the state tree of Massachusetts and North Dakota, grows in the Eastern to Midwest U.S. Average tree height is 40 to 60 feet.

Elm wood was valued for its interlocking grain, and consequent resistance to splitting, with significant uses in wheels, chair seats and coffins. The wood is also resistant to decay when permanently wet, and hollowed trunks were widely used as water pipes during the medieval period in Europe.

Elms also have a long history of cultivation for fodder, with the leafy branches cut for livestock. The bark, cut into strips and boiled, sustained much of the rural population of Norway during the great famine of 1812. The red elm has a glue-like substance in its inner bark that formerly was steeped in water as a remedy for throat ailments; powdered for use in poultices, and chewed as a thirst-quencher.

From the 18th century to the early 20th century, elms were among the most widely planted ornamental tree in both Europe and North America. They were particularly popular as a street tree in avenue plantings in towns and cities, creating high-tunnelled effects, and to this day, 'Elm Street' remains the most common road name in the USA. In North America the species most commonly planted was the American Elm, which had unique properties that made it ideal for such use: rapid growth, adaptation to a broad range of climates and soils, strong wood, resistance to wind damage, and vase-like growth habit requiring minimal pruning.