42 History of Wake Forest College
"The score or more of large oaks on the Campus [in 1943 only eleven
are left], many of which, alas! show signs of old age, and, as Dean
Swift said of himself, are dying from the top downward, are all of
virgin growth." "The older elms of the campus and those which, in
lessening numbers [they were all cut down on the construction of the
concrete highway], shade the western walk of Main Street, were all
planted during the administration of Dr. Samuel Wait. Three
generations have had reason for gratitude to this excellent man and his
co-workers. They had little money, poor equipment, few students. But
they could plant trees and they did. They had faith, and, peering into
the future, discerned a day of larger things." "Two great trees which
many of the older people still remember are worthy of mention here.
One was the great sassafras which used to stand in the middle of the
street near the Turner home [on the sw. corner of Middle and Pine
streets]. Its trunk was at least a foot in diameter, and thirty years ago
its wealth of foliage was in full proportion therewith." "At the corner
next the most easterly of the `Gore Houses' [corner of Middle and
North streets] stood for many years by far the loftiest of the trees of
the neighborhood. It was a poplar which towered so high as to be
visible from a distance before any of the houses or trees of the village
were discernible. In the side of its great trunk was a cleft into which a
man could creep and stand erect. And when one day a stroke of
lightning stole the life from the tree, it was found that a numerous
family of pigs with their mother had been (in heathenish fashion) un-
conscious sacrifices accompanying the passing of this imperial
representative of the vegetable kingdom." "Then there is the great
magnolia tree which Dr. Wingate planted and nursed in the yard of his
home [now the site of the President's Home]. Not a few of us love it
because he loved it. And it is as worthy of admiration as of love. No
more vigorous or beautiful tree of the grandiflora class stands in
North Carolina or out of it." "What has been may yet be again. If
within the next few years a thousand oaks and maples and ashes and
poplars, but especially
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