Throwback Thursday: The Auburn Elm

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

DeKalb County isn’t typically known for its natural landmarks, but in the early 1900s, the county was home to a tree that was known across the state.


The Auburn Elm once spread its branches in a lot on 14th Street, between South Main and South Jackson. This tree was a remarkably large elm—likely several stories tall, judging from pictures. At one time it was considered to be the largest such tree in the state.


Its height apparently did not go unnoticed. Postcards of the tree were printed by several post card companies, including the Auburn Post Card Mfg. Co. In 1903 it was featured on the front cover of Indiana’s Arbor and Bird Day Annual, where it was referred to as “The Spreading Elm.”

Indiana journalist and poet, Lewis “Barney” Barnett Fretz, even wrote a poem about the tree, titled “Auburn’s Historic Elm,” pictured below.


Although the tree itself is no longer standing, it can still be seen today in these items from our county’s past. Want to see more? Click here to search our online photo database.


About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
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