Davie Poplar

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Davie Poplar
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Davie Poplar in spring 2004
Davie Poplar in spring 2004
Erected c. 1650
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Website Davie Poplar

Coordinates: 35°54′46″N 79°03′06″W / 35.91288°N 79.05166°W / 35.91288; -79.05166

Davie Poplar is a large tulip poplar tree, approximately 300-375 years old, located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, named in honor of Revolutionary War general and founder of the University William Richardson Davie.

Davie Poplar III, planted from one of the original tree's seeds in 1993, is located near Davie Poplar

It was already a large tree as plans were being drawn up for the University in 1792, and legend has it that Davie personally chose to locate the school lands around the tree after having a pleasant summer lunch underneath it. The story is not true – the university's location was chosen by a six-man committee in November 1792 – and the tree was named by Cornelia Phillips Spencer almost a century later to commemorate the legend.

The most enduring legend associated with the tree is that as long as Davie Poplar remains standing, the University will thrive. If it falls, the University will crumble. As such, many steps have been taken to preserve the tree. In 1918, it was struck by lightning, and fear that the tree was dying led the University to make a plant grafting, called Davie Poplar Jr. A second Davie Poplar Jr. was planted near Hinton James Hall. Later, another tree called Davie Poplar III was planted nearby from a seed of the original tree. As part of the university's bicentennial celebration in 1993, 100 seedlings from the tree were given to 100 children representing North Carolina's 100 counties. The seedlings were to be planted in the 100 counties across the state. Where these seedlings were actually planted is not known. In 1996, Davie Poplar was badly damaged by Hurricane Fran, after which the trunk was filled with cement and strung with cables to keep it up.

According to more recent legend, if a couple kisses on the stone bench beneath the tree, the couple will marry.

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