The once-magnificent white oak (Quercus alba) that stood by the playground was partly taken down by the National Park Service arborist team in mid-October. It had succumbed to Hypoxylon, a fungal disease that rapidly affects oaks when they are already under stress from other factors, including drought and root injury. It shaded the playground area for generations and will be greatly missed. It was the last of the white oaks dating from the century before Montrose became a public park.

Montrose Park has an interesting connection to the Olmsteds as outlined in the Cultural Landscape Report completed in 2004 here.  

The Office of Public Buildings and grounds had responsibility for transforming Montrose into a public park once it was purchased by the US Government in 1911. To assist them, the Congress had created in 1910 the Commission of Fine Arts “to advise the Federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of art and architecture affecting the appearance of the nation’s capital.”   

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. served on the Commission from 1910-1918 and had the role of  “primary reviewer” for Montrose Park. Minutes from meetings of the Commission in 1915 and 1916 relate that “Mr. Olmsted was appointed a committee with power to report the conclusions of the Commission in writing.” He was later described as a “committee of one with power” regarding Montrose Park, and the report, pages 40-45, notes numerous suggestions that he made over a period of years, some of which were followed by the NPS.  

Friends of Montrose Park is planning a tree planting with Casey Trees in the spring and hopes to replace the white oak tree then and also to mill the remaining trunk to restore the nearby Pergola. The piles of wood chips left behind will be used as mulch around trees of other species and in the boxwood areas.