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Community to Dedicate New Tree in Cemetery of Historic Lawrenceville Church Sunday, April 29, 12:00 pm


Lawrenceville Main Street (LMS) and the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville (PCOL) invite the community to attend the dedication of a new copper beech tree on Sunday, April 29 at 12:00 p.m. in the PCOL north cemetery, located at 2688 Main Street (Route 206). The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 14th annual LMS Jubilee, scheduled for noon to 5:00 p.m. on the same day.


The 15-foot sapling was planted recently near the base of a magnificent American beech tree, which split and crashed to the ground in October 2009. The historic tree, believed to be one of the largest beeches in New Jersey, was cherished by the congregation. Efforts to save the tree by cabling the branches did not succeed.


“If only trees could talk,” mused Church Administrator Jeanne Aicher, “this one would have had wonderful stories to tell.” The tree most likely was standing in 1810 when Rev. Isaac V. Brown, PCOL’s seventh minister, established the Maidenhead Academy, which later became the Lawrenceville School.


Congregants Kris Deni and Rich Levandowski donated the new tree as a memorial to Kris’s daughter Leah, who died in 2004 at age 25 from a blood infection. Leah was an ardent environmentalist and program director at the Urban Ecology Institute in Boston.

The tree dedication comes two days after Arbor Day, which is celebrated in New Jersey on the last Friday of April. In 1996, Lawrence Township received Tree City USA designation by The National Arbor Day Foundation.


Skip Conover, LMS treasurer and former PCOL trustee, is coordinating the tree dedication ceremony at which the Rev. Jeffrey A. Vamos and LMS President Howard Nelson will address the audience. Preschool children and teachers from the church's cooperative nursery school (LPCNS) will attend the ceremony and sing two songs: Mr. Sun and Skidamarink. The LPCNS celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.


Along with Andrea Rabitz, Conover also was instrumental in the project to reuse the lumber from the old beech tree. The wood was milled into about 80 cheese and bread boards by Willard Brothers, and then stored and dried at their Trenton facility for the past three years. The PCOL Men’s Group sanded, oiled and branded the boards with a commemorative stamp.


The boards will go on sale (limit: two per family) from $20-$40 on Apr. 29 immediately after the tree dedication ceremony. Proceeds from the sale will help offset the cost of removing the old beech tree and milling the wood. And, the townspeople will have the opportunity to own a treasured piece of history and a symbol of strength, wisdom, and tolerance.


Lawrenceville Main Street is a volunteer-led organization dedicated to fostering a sense of community and continuing the revitalization of our historic downtown area by organizing events, building partnerships, cultivating the business environment, and enhancing the physical setting of the Village of Lawrenceville. An official Main Street New Jersey community, LMS is accredited by the Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For updated Jubilee information and other LMS events, visit


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