Three Mile Oak

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Three Mile Oak
Three Mile Oak Tree-New.png
1967 Replacement Oak at Three Mile Oak Tree Marker
Coordinates 38°59′10″N76°32′49″W / 38.986°N 76.547°W / 38.986; -76.547 Coordinates: 38°59′10″N76°32′49″W / 38.986°N 76.547°W / 38.986; -76.547
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Location of Three Mile Oak in Maryland

Three Mile Oak got its name because it was three miles from the Maryland State House. Prominent visitors were met at the tree, on the outskirts of Annapolis, and escorted into the city.

Maryland State House houses the Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland State House is located in Annapolis, Maryland as the oldest U.S. state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772 and housing the Maryland General Assembly, plus the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The capitol has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome in the United States constructed without nails. The current building, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, is the third statehouse on its site. The building is administered by the State House Trust, established in 1969.

Annapolis, Maryland Capital of Maryland

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.



The Three Mile Oak was last a tree stump from the 18th century. Presumably a white oak, about six feet in diameter, and originally located three miles from Annapolis in Parole, Anne Arundel County. The tree was struck by lightning, became hollow, was killed by fire, and finally blew down on May 22, 1909. At the site where the tree stood, a delegation is reported to have met George Washington en route to Annapolis, Maryland (then the U.S. capital) to resign his commission on December 19, 1783. [1] Washington resigned as commander-in-chief on December 23. [2]

Lightning atmospheric discharge of electricity

Lightning is a violent and sudden electrostatic discharge where two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves, usually during a thunderstorm.

George Washington 1st president of the United States

George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father, who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He commanded Patriot forces in the new nation's War of Independence and led them to victory over the British. He also presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his leadership during the Revolutionary War and in the formative days of the new nation.

George Washingtons resignation as commander-in-chief George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783

George Washington's resignation as commander-in-chief marked the end of Washington's military service in the American Revolutionary War and his return to civilian life at Mount Vernon. His voluntary action has been described as "one of the nation's great acts of statesmanship" and helped establish the precedent of civilian control of the military. After the Treaty of Paris ending the war had been signed on September 3, 1783, and after the last British troops left New York City on November 25, Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army to the Congress of the Confederation, then meeting in the Maryland State House at Annapolis, Maryland, on December 23 of the same year. This followed his farewell to the Continental Army, November 2 at Rockingham near Princeton, New Jersey, and his farewell to his officers, December 4 at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. Washington's resignation was depicted by John Trumbull in 1824 with the life-size painting, General George Washington Resigning His Commission, now on view in the United States Capitol rotunda.

Plaque at Original Tree Site

While on display outdoors for many years, the Three Mile Oak was exhibited with a plaque erected in 1967 by the Four Rivers Garden Club, Rotary of Annapolis, explaining its significance. The plaque states: [3]

Under this tree passed General George Washington December 19, 1783 on his way to Annapolis to resign his Commission as Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Armies, and it is thought that General Smallwood accompanied by General Gates and distinguished citizens of Annapolis met General Washington at this spot.

General Lafayette passed here December 17, 1824 to visit the friends of revolutionary days.

Original plaque Three-Mile-Oak-Original-Marker.png
Original plaque

The plaque and tree trunk originally sat at the corner of West Street and Route 178 (Generals Highway).

Three Mile Oak Stump with Rebar through Concrete Block Three Mile Oak With Concrete Block.jpg
Three Mile Oak Stump with Rebar through Concrete Block

The concrete block that held the twisted stump of the tree is still located at that spot, just outside the parking lot of Toys R Us, diagonally from the Applebee's at the Annapolis Mall. The twisted rebars rising out of the concrete block protected the rotting trunk of the tree.

Concrete Block that held stump of Three Mile Oak Original Block for Three Mile Oak.JPG
Concrete Block that held stump of Three Mile Oak

Moving the Plaque

The plaque was moved in 1967 down the road, approximately 500 feet, across from the Red Lobster and the former Famous Dave's Restaurants (now Uncle Julio’s). Local citizens feared that it would be destroyed by traffic if left unprotected at the corner of West Street and Defense Highway. A new oak tree was planted close to the relocated plaque. [4] A new plaque was placed over the dismounted and moved original plaque. It reads:

This oak tree planted in 1967 perpetuates the memory of the original Three Mile Oak which stood nearby as explained in the marker below.
Additional Plaque for Three Mile Oak Three Mile Oak 1976.png
Additional Plaque for Three Mile Oak

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  1. "Three Mile Oak Collection MSA SC 5998". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  2. "General George Washington Resigning His Commission". Architect of the Capitol.
  3. "Three Mile Oak" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. October 13, 2014.
  4. Laura McMarlin (2012-03-08). "BLOG: Three Mile Oak Tree in Parole". Annapolis Patch. Retrieved 2012-09-14.