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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 27, July 2, 2006, Article 10

WHITE HOUSE TREE PICTURED ON $20 BILL FALLS IN STORM

Add one more thing to the list of landmarks pictured on recent
numismatic items that isn't there anymore - like New Hampshire's
Old Man of the Mountain (depicted on that state's quarter), a
tree at the White House, pictured on the reverse of the U.S.
twenty dollar bill, is now gone.  The tree fell near the front
door on the Pennsylvania Avenue side.  No one was injured.  The
storms and related flooding also threatened the National Archives.

According to news reports on Monday, June 26, "A tree that has
stood in front of the White House came down during heavy storms
last night. The large American Elm was not planted by a president
or first lady but it shares a piece of history in any case.

The NBC White House Bureau reports that the tree is featured
prominently on back of the $20 bill. It can be found in the far
right corner of the image on the back of a $20 bill. The tree is
believed to date back 140 years to the Andrew Johnson White House....
There is no word as to whether the image on the back of the $20 bill
will be changed."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[On Thursday the Washington Post had a more detailed (and
numismatically accurate) story. -Editor]

"The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which produces the nation's
currency, couldn't say for sure whether the late tree was the same
one immortalized on the $20. The White House shown on the bill was
an artistic composite based on photos of the building, said Claudia
Dickens, a bureau spokeswoman.

The note's designer, the now-retired V. Jack Ruther, isn't exactly
sure himself. The photos he worked from to produce the bill's 1998
redesign were taken over many decades and he no longer has them, he
said. As a general matter, the engraving isn't photo-realistic. The
grand fountain in front of the White House, for example, was removed
from his final model ("I thought it was cool but someone in charge
didn't"), and such distracting features as the security huts on the
roof were never included.

That raises a philosophical question: If a tree falls at the White
House and it's not the one on the $20 bill, would the news media
still do stories about it?"

"As for the remains of the fallen, no calls for souvenirs or raw
material for dining room tables, please. The Park Service isn't
selling. It plans to mulch the remains and spread them around the
grounds."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

The National Geographic magazine put together a nice side-by-side
graphic showing the fallen tree and the corresponding image on the
$20 note: Full Story

According to other reports, "Flooding from a weekend of heavy rain
shut down major federal buildings Monday, and created a nightmare
for commuters with washed-out roads, mud blocking the Capital Beltway
and delays on the area's rail lines."

"The National Archives was closed and will remain closed Tuesday,
although official said its holdings were not at risk. Conservation
staff inspected the Rotunda and stack areas and found no damage to
original records, according to a news release.

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are safe and
undamaged, spokeswoman Susan Cooper told Arenstein but the basement
and theater in the building are flooded, and a power outage at the
building has affected the process used to keep the temperature and
humidity of the documents at the proper settings."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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