Scott Jenkins Memorial Park Moon Tree

Hamilton, Virginia

[Hamilton Moon Tree] [Hamilton Moon Tree] [Hamilton Moon Tree]

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) planted originally by R. Max Peterson on his private land near Hamilton, in Loudoun County, Virginia. The land has been turned into the Scott Jenkins Memorial Park, just east of Hamilton off business route 7. The tree stands in a grove not far from the park entrance (see map below). Enter the park and go to the parking lot on the left. The sign is by the road on the right just as you get to the parking lot

Unfortunately the sign is somewhat misleading, The tree in front of the sign is not the Moon Tree, even though the sign refers to the tree "before you". The actual tree is not visible from the sign, but can be seen by walking roughly 20 feet to the right of the sign. It is marked by the red arrow in the picture above. You can get a better view from the east southeast side of the grove, which is where the first picture is taken from. The red dot on the aerial view below marks the approximate location of the tree.

[Hamilton Moon Tree] [Hamilton Moon Tree] [Hamilton Moon Tree]

It is also easier to see in the fall - these pictures were taken in October - when the tree is orange and yellow. It would normally be green and probably much harder to distinguish in the grove of trees.

The tree was planted circa September 1978. It now stands about 60 feet tall. It is located at 39.1366 N, 77.6372 W.

The photographs at the bottom of the page show the tree in 2005 on what was still private land at the time.

Max Peterson was given the sapling by Stan Krugman, scientist in charge of the Moon Tree program for the Forest Service. Peterson was Deputy Chief of the Forest Service at the time. The sapling was sickly, but Peterson managed to nurse it back to health and plant it on his property. Peterson said the tree's growth was slowed when it was about 8 to 10 feet tall because the deer "seemed to seek it out to rub their horns on in the spring". He became Chief of the U.S. Forest Service in 1979 and remained in that position until 1987, when he retired and became the first Chief Emeritus. He is shown below standing in front of the Moon Tree in 2005. Max passed away on 14 January 2014.

[Hamilton Moon Tree] [Max Peterson and the Hamilton Moon Tree] [hamilton Moon Tree]

Photographs at top and center of page credit Dave Williams and Nancy Rogers
Aerial view credit Google Maps
Photographs at bottom of page courtesy Max Peterson

 Moon Tree flourishes in Loudoun - Loudoun Times-Mirror (Courtesy Wayback Machine)

 History of the Sweetgum Moon Trees
 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 28 October 2022, DRW