The Smith-Graybeal Cedar Trees have ties to two of the founding fathers of American horticulture: pioneer Texas horticulturalist and nurseryman Elbert W. Kirkpatrick, and famed horticulturalist Luther Burbank, whose birthday is celebrated as Arbor Day. Three Eastern Red Cedar trees and one Deodar Cedar were incorporated into the landscape plan for W.D. Smith, the original owner of the home where they stand to this day in the Historic District of McKinney, Texas. Working with Burbank and also with Stark Brothers Nurseries of Missouri, Kirkpatrick provided the trees to Smith ca.1908. The Deodar Cedar is not indigenous to America and was sourced from Burbank’s nursery in California. In 2017, Dr. Gary Graybeal moved into the historic Smith home with his wife Emily, and took steps to protect the trees. In doing so, the Kirkpatrick legacy was discovered, and the Kirkpatrick Historic Tree Program was launched. Through this program, other homeowners who suspect their trees may be connected with Kirkpatrick may submit them to be considered for historic designation.
The dedication and celebration of these magnificent trees was held on Saturday, May 11 at the Graybeal home.