February 2012  
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New Furniture Out of Old Elms

Photo by Greg Grieco

Of all Penn State's iconic symbols, none is older or more beautiful than the Penn State elms. But after more than 100 years of gracing the University Park campus, the elms continue to be under attack and dying. They are living on through The Penn State Elms Collection, with five new exquisite pieces of furniture to carry on the elms’ special legacy.

Since 2007, Penn State has battled both elms yellows disease and Dutch elm disease, a fungal disease spread by the elm bark beetle. While the elms yellows infection—first discovered in campus trees that year—has slowed, due to monitoring and treatment by the Office of Physical Plant, it has not stopped the disease. In coming months, nearly 100 of the 287 elm trees at University Park will have been lost to one of the two diseases.

Once infected, a tree cannot recover, and disease spreads from tree to tree. But a tree’s innermost hardwood remains intact and can be saved and given new life in the form of beautiful handcrafted furniture. For two years, Penn State alumni, family and friends have been bringing a part of the majestic elms into their homes. Now, five more styles of furniture are available.

Perhaps the most stately of the new pieces is the stand-up writing desk, fashioned after those used by great thinkers of the past, like Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Hemingway. This heirloom desk can be used in an office or any room in the home and will have people commenting on its unique style and timelessness. The price: $1,500.

Article related photo.Two new tables are now offered, each in two different sizes: a side table and an end table that includes a drawer. Each table would be perfect beside any cozy chair or bed. The price: $700.

Perhaps too pretty for the kids to rest their feet upon, two sizes of coffee tables are also available. An oblong table, four feet in length, is $850. Or, try another look with the 3-foot by 3-foot square table, priced at $925. Either piece is sure to add beauty and style to any room.

The Elms Collection also features other pieces of handcrafted furniture and frames, including a glass-display cabinet; mirror; blanket chest; mantel clock; writing desk; rocking chair; console table; and diploma or art frames. Prices range from $250 for the frames to $2,200 for the rocking chair.

A portion of the proceeds from The Penn State Elms Collection is being used by Penn State to replant trees in the historic core of the University Park campus. The elms will be replaced with several different species of trees that have a higher known disease resistance while still offering the majestic canopies associated with elms.

The Penn State Elms Collection is a partnership between the Penn State Alumni Association and Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant. View the complete Penn State Elms Collection now or call 877-778-7467.

Published by Penn State Alumni Association
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