Fulton Ferry Tree

Brooklyn, New York

[Ellis letter, 16 May 1975] [Preston letter, 4 June 1975] [Preston letter, 7 May 1976]
Ellis letter offering seedlings to state foresters / Preston letter requesting seedlings for New York / Preston letter on shipping tree to Brooklyn

A sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) Moon Tree was planned to be planted at the Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn, New York circa June 1976. The paper trail described below is the only evidence we have of the tree's history.

A letter addressed to "All State Foresters Field Offices" was sent by Howard Burnett (for Thomas Ellis) of the Forest Service Office in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Lands and Forests Administration, dated May 16, 1975. The letter, which was presumably the beginning step for most of the Moon Trees planted around the country, offered Moon Tree seedlings for planting in New York. (Howard Burnett also took part in the first official Moon Tree planting in Philadelphia and wrote a first hand description of the event.) On June 4, 1975, James O. Preston, Director of the Division of Lands and Forests, responded with a request to Howard Burnett for one or more of the Moon Tree seedlings for New York.

On September 8, Preston and Edgar C. Fabber, the Commissioner of the Department of Ports and Terminals in New York, had a conversation about the Moon Trees, and on September 10, 1975, Fabber wrote to Preston, requesting a Moon Tree seedling be allotted for planting at The Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn, New York. The site was being developed as a national landmark and had several bicentennial events planned there. On September 30, 1975, Thomas Ellis sent a letter to James Preston informing him that limited numbers of seedlings would be available for each state for planting during the Bicentennial. On December 18, 1975, James Preston sent a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Hullar informing him that one seedling had been allocated for the Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn, and they were requesting two more, possibly for Buffalo and Syracuse.

[Fabber letter, 10 September 1975] [Ellis letter, 30 September 1975] [Preston letter, 18 December 1975]
Fabber letter requesting seedling for Brooklyn / Ellis letter to Preston on the seedlings / Preston letter that a seedling was going to Fulton Ferry

Barton Zeh wrote to Ron Dinas of the Institute of Forest Genetics in Gulfport, Mississippi, on March 15, 1976, to arrange for shipping of three sycamore seedlings after April 30, 1976, and inquiring about the exact date. James Preston wrote to Charles Kris of the City of New York Department of Ports and Terminals on May 7, 1976, letting him know that they would be shipping a Moon Tree seedling for planting at Fulton Ferry during the week of June 14, 1976 and requesting exact shipping directions. He mentions that this would be the only Moon Tree planted in downstate New York.

[Zeh letter, 15 March 1976] [Preston letter, 7 May 1976]
Zeh letter arranging shipping after April 30 / Preston letter on a seedling going to Fulton Ferry

A memo and an airbill dated June 7, 1976, shows the sycamore seedlings were sent by air freight from the Southern Forest Experiment Station in Gulfport to the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany. The seedlings were shipped on Allegany Airlines to Albany Airport.

[Airbill, 7 June 1976] [Air Freight Memo, 7 June 1976]
Airbill showing seedlings delivered to New York / Memo on air freighting of seedlings

This is the last information we have on this tree, there is no further news or documentation on the planting or disposition of the seedling.

Letters and information courtesy of Kendall Nagi and the New York State Archive.

History of the Sycamore Moon Trees

Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams, david.r.williams@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 25 October 2023, DRW