McGrew Arbor Walk

Established in 1841, the Historic James C. McGrew Arbor is home to 5 state champions plus rare exotic trees!

About the Walk

Outside of the endless history stored on the grounds, a unique honor has come to the grounds surrounding McGrew House. In the past year, the West Virginia Big Tree Program, maintained through the Division of Forestry, has identified four State Champion Trees and one other that is second in their species.

Types of Champion Trees: Bigleaf Magnolia (stands 26.7′ tall and has a circumference of 67.5″), Yellowwood, (stands 50.2′ tall and has a circumference of 80.4″), the European Larch (stands 87.1′ tall with a circumference of 151.4″); and the extremely rare Japanese Tigertail Spruce. These trees are identified  by the blue ribbons attached to them throughout the walk. Lastly, the European Beech (stands 36.7′ tall and has a circumference of 146″).

Walk through the yard that holds endless history and learn about the different trees and shrubs as well as their origin.

Origin and History

All are within a short walk of each other and are near other distinctive species unusual to our climate. Particularly, the Ginkgo is a native to the Orient; the Norway Spruce and Maples from Europe; and and three other varieties of Magnolia—Saucer, Sweetbay and native Cucumber tree.  All these and more are identified on a recently published map now available at McGrew House. Come see them for yourself, and you will agree with forestry expert, Turner Sharp, who said, “You have a treasure here–really!”

That the McGrew grounds have so many distinguished trees comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with James C. McGrew’s own life and wide-ranging interests. He amassed an impressive library and spent hours pondering works of literature, social-polity, philosophy, architecture, theology, and this particular interest–the grandest of nature’s trees. That both his home and the trees that he planted here still survive into yet another century is another part of his legacy.


McGrew House

111 E Main St.
Kingwood, WV 26537 

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