A Veterans’ Memorial Forest and Park
The Reverent Town
I like a town that sees the sacredness of trees, acknowledging their right to whisper half the night, and all the day to talk above a shaded walk. I like a reverent town, that hews no tree trunk down, but lets it stand to know sidewalks around may go, as if, “I comprehend; you were here first, my friend.
In 1939, Burton Village officials and the Burton Township Trustees decided to create a Community Forest. The idea of a forest came about after some citizens in Burton heard about the community forests in Europe. These forests were cared for hundreds of years by careful lumbering and replanting which yielded large revenues.
A Geauga Leader article dated September 19, 1939, read, “On unproductive land whose only recent crop has been a mounting tax debt, Burton has launched a unique experiment – a community forest of 1500 trees.” It was hoped that this forest would eventually produce revenue through the sale of lumber. These sales would help offset taxes.
In 1940, village officials and the township trustees searched tax and aerial maps looking for old unproductive farms that had delinquent taxes and found two properties. The first was 20.5 acres of the Beeman property which was acquired from Homeowners Loan Corporation for $1.00, the second purchase was 11.5 acres of the Russell property which was purchased for $100 at a Sheriff’s sale.
On May 7, 1944, Burton Memorial Forest was dedicated to the veterans of World War II. The trees planted in honor of the WWII veterans were red and white oak, hard and soft maple, ash, cherry, and tulip.
In 1984, a flag pole on a stone base, listing the five military organizations was installed by the Burton Township Trustees and re-dedicated to all those who have served this country with a military commitment. Later, the Merchant Marines were added to the list of military organizations.
In 1993, a pavilion was built and playground equipment installed by volunteers. Trails were cut through the Forest. A new sign was made and the Burton Memorial Forest was named, “A Veterans Memorial Forest and Park.”