The Custer Elm
In July 2009 I visited the Custer Elm in Council Grove, Kansas. The elm is just on the edge of town and is quite easy to find, just like all the other historic attractions in town. The Custer Elm Park consists of the Elm, a playground, and a picnic area. There's a couple of information signs posted.
The Custer Elm is now just a very large stump surrounded by a chain link fence with a roof over it. A cross section of the Custer Elm is positioned horizontally to give you a perspective of the width of the tree. The Custer Elm stood over 100 feet tall and measured more than 16 feet around. An old photo attached to the cross section gives a brief history of the Custer Elm and the property.
In 1867 General George Armstrong Custer and his famed 7th Cavalry camped under the elm while patrolling the Santa Fe Trial. The hardwood grove that flourished here provided shelter and wood for travelers along the trail. The grove was about one mile in length. Council Grove obtained it's name from the grove. General Custer and Amos Kimball purchased 120 acres in 1869 that contained the Custer Elm. The Custer Elm sits on the northern edge of the purchased property. Libbie Custer sold the property on May 31, 1881.
Dutch Elm disease killed the tree in the early 1970's and it was estimated to be over 300 years old. The Council Grove Kiwanis Club purchased this plot in 1978 and established Custer Elm Park.