Cherry Tree
April 09, 2021

A celebration of spring

Each year, Andover celebrates the season—and a cherished cherry tree located next to Sam Phil
by Nancy Hitchcock

Cherry tree festivals take place all over the world to celebrate the beginning of spring. Andover celebrates spring—and a cherished cherry tree located next to Sam Phil—with cookies! Two years ago, members of the science department handed out some 1,500 cookies to passers-by from beneath its blossoming branches.

More than 40 cherry trees decorate campus with color—most of them are pink and do not produce fruit. A total of 14 ornamental cherries adorn Phillips Street, behind the Peabody Institute.

The Sam Phil cherry tree is believed to be a Japanese ornamental flowering cherry cultivar, or a Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan.’ It is more than 50 years old and 30–40 feet tall and wide, according to grounds manager Kevin Block.

This beloved tree was almost cut down—twice! Once in the late ’60s and again in 2004 because it interfered with campus views of the new science buildings: Evans Hall, constructed in 1963 and since razed, and the Gelb Science Center, built in 2004.

Tom Cone, emeritus instructor in biology, will forever be known for his love of the cherry trees - in particular the one in front of Sam Phil. In 2004, Cone started a movement to save the threatened tree. Upon hearing the community’s concern, Head of School Barbara Landis Chase made the decision to preserve it. Shortly after, Cone began the annual cookie celebration.

To honor his retirement in 2017, Cone’s colleagues planted a cherry tree on the south side of the Gelb Science Center.

In Bloom

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Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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