Introduction to the Trees of Reed book

The present 100-acre Reed College campus originally was founded on 86 acres of the well known Crystal Springs Farm purchased through the estate of Simeon Gannett Reed for the purpose of creating the Reed Institute. The campus included large open areas with orchards and vegetable gardens surrounding a spring-fed lake with a creek running through the central canyon wildlife habitat, all within a very desirable residential area of Southeast Portland.

Most of the trees on campus today have been planted since the college was founded. Early campus photographs of the front lawn show little evidence of any trees other than the striking Douglas-firs in front of Eliot Hall and the Old Dorm Block. It is believed that the Beech and Maple trees to the south of the newly remodeled Psychology building are remnants of nursery stock from the original farm. Florence Lehman ’41 recalls the first major landscape planting occurring in January 1933 by W.A. Eliot (father of Mignon Eliot ’22, and grandfather of Warner Eliot ’46). W.A. Eliot was president of the Oregon Audubon Society at the time he presented the college with 71 native trees collected from various regions of Oregon. Included among these were 26 coniferous and 29 broadleaf trees, and they are presented in the text. Many of these trees are still on campus. It is our intent to reestablish those trees no longer standing today.

The campus’ outstanding qualities of botanical interest have brought Reed significant attention, including selection by a national magazine as one of the five best examples of "genus college" in the United States, along with Dartmouth College, the University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of California. William L. Owen MAT ’59 was the first person to take an active interest in identifying the Reed campus tree collection. In 1984, Owen presented the college with a thorough study identifying the relative value and condition of the campus trees. Owen’s gift focused on the immense resource we possess on this campus. As a result of this study, a specific budget category was created for our ongoing tree maintenance program.

This book came into being because of Phyllis Reynolds, daughter-in-law of the college’s legendary teacher of calligraphy, Lloyd Reynolds, and her interest in creating a tree handbook for general use by the college community and the public at large. Studying our campus through four seasons, Phyllis and taxonomist Stanley Lindstrom presented the college with a detailed taxonomic list of trees and plotted their specific locations on campus. She worked with us throughout the project, reviewing the text and updating the maps.

It was through the giving spirit of these friends of the college that this book was undertaken. Their efforts represent a tremendous gift and have produced a valuable resource that enables everyone to appreciate these remarkable trees.

The information was transferred to a Macintosh database that can now be easily updated when new trees are planted. The information here represents the combined effort of students and staff members who researched tree descriptions, wrestled with the computer software set-ups, labeled the maps, and engaged in other tasks too numerous to mention. The photographs collected by Reed’s grounds department supervisor, Bruce Hefner, were a welcome addition and offer a glimpse of what the campus has to offer. Nils Proctor ’91 later added many excellent photos and significantly improved the mapping format, and Tony Moreno, digital media specialist at Reed presented the data in a cohesive website.

We are also most grateful for the contributions of students Lisa Batsford ’95, Chris Fesler ’96, Michael Hebb ’99, Beth Trittipo ’96, Angela Hughes ’97, and Nina Johnson ’99. It is through their efforts this project was completed.

Walk amongst the giants and enjoy the trees of Reed College.

—Townsend Angell, 2008