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Why is New Haven Called the Elm City?

Whether you have recently moved to Greater New Haven, or are a lifelong resident, you may be wondering why it is called the Elm City.

It started back in the 1600’s shortly after the New Haven Colony was founded. The first colony in America with a “city plan” was laid out with nine squares. The center square, New Haven Green, was reserved for public use.  The first elm trees were planted on the Green in 1686. They were a gift from a parishioner to a local pastor for the completion of his home’s construction on the corner of Elm and Temple Streets.

A civic leader and large landowner started America’s first public tree-planting program. He precisely planted elm trees on the Green. With this, the elm tree came to be known as a symbol for New Haven.

Elm trees can reach up to 100 feet tall and have a vase shape creating beautiful cathedral arches along the Green.

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