Maryland's State Symbol Fell on June 6, 2002
The Wye Oak, Maryland's State Tree and the largest White Oak in the United States, toppled June 6, 2002 during a thunderstorm in the village of Wye in Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Believed to be more than 460 years old, the beloved tree was purchased by the State Maryland in 1939, and was declared Maryland's State Tree in 1941. The purchase marked the first time in American History that a government agency purchased a single tree for preservation. The Wye Oak was one of Maryland's greatest living symbols and was older than the State itself.
In 2004, the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Maryland State Arts Council made wood from the Wye Oak available to Maryland artists at the John S. Ayton State Forest Tree Nursery in Preston, MD. Along with 150 other Maryland artists, Rick Smith journeyed to Preston on May 15, 2004 to collect a share of this venerable old state icon, for which certificates of authenticity were issued. Under the conditions of this program, Rick created artworks from this wood in 2004-5 and will make these pieces available to the State for exhibition in 2005-6. Beginning in June of 2006, these truly rare treasures will be available for sale to those who wish to own a piece of history.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources website: