Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa - Washington, AR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member WayBetterFinder
N 33° 46.547 W 093° 40.854
15S E 436955 N 3737503
Quick Description: The Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa tree has been designated by the Arkansas Historic and Famous Tree Program as a historically significant tree.
Location: Arkansas, United States
Date Posted: 5/31/2020 8:12:16 AM
Waymark Code: WM12HK1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:
The historic Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa tree is found in Washington, AR, along Franklin Street, southeast of where Hamilton Street meets Franklin. The tree is at the entrance into the grounds of the old 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse. This catalpa tree is named after the local main carrier, John H. Smith, who, according to the pamphlet gotten from the Gift Shop, began delivering mail from Washington, AR to Natchitoches, LA in 1831. It took Smith 10 days to travel his mail route and he road his route twice a month. He would gather seeds from Southern Catalpa trees he found growing along the Red River and scatter these seeds over the land where the 1836 Courthouse was built. This is one of the seedlings that took root and has survived as a witness tree throughout its 197 year lifetime (as of 2020).

The Arkansas Famous and Historical Tree Program (AFHTP) has this Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa registered as tree # 0022 as of August 6, 2004. An official metal tag attached to this tree's trunk by the AFHTP states:

"This tree has been registered as an Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree
Southern Catalpa
Catalpa Bignonioides
is recognized as an Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree for its association with a significant person in local, state or national history with a dual listing as having the potential to yield significant cultural information in local, state or national history.
'MAIL CARRIER SMITH CATALPA"
AFHTP Registered Tree # 0022 August 6, 2004"'

Additionally, this Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa tree was designated as the Arkansas State Champion Catalpa tree in 2010, making it not only famous, but exceptional. A concrete block with a metal plaque mounted on it was placed by the Arkansas Forestry Commission which states:

"Arkansas Champion
Southern Catalpa
Catalpa bignonioides
Arkansas Forestry Commission"

Link to State Champion announcement:
(visit link)

Link to historical trees found in Historic Washington State Park, Arkansas:
(visit link)
Website: [Web Link]

Historic Event:
State of Arkansas has designated this Catalpa tree as a historical tree. At 14 years old, John H. Smith began delivering mail on a route that took 10 day to cover. In 1883, John H. Smith. at 66 years old, was interviewed by the Southwest Press that published his story of delivering mail and scattering Catalpa seeds around the area of the 1836 Courthouse. Arkansas has vetted the Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa as one of its significantly historic trees.


Year: 1831

Species: Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

Approximate Age: 189

Location: Adjacent the entrance to the 1836 Courthouse in Historic Washington State Park, Washington, AR

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WayBetterFinder visited Mail Carrier Smith Catalpa - Washington, AR 6/5/2020 WayBetterFinder visited it