this topic has already been covered on other sites and blogs in detail. so, i am only going to make a general post about the clement oak. if you google it, there is much more info out there.
who would think that behind a freaking walmart, on the bank of big timber creek, sits one of the largest oak trees on the east coast? the site itself is nondescript. it is a large retail complex with a strip mall, anchor stores, and the biggest anchor store of them all – walmart! The site used to be part of the clement’s farm, which is now covered by the deptford mall and other retail chain stores galore. nearby, the hessians marched over clement’s bridge to/from red bank battlefield. the site is bordered by the north south freeway (route 42) and clement’s bridge road with big timber creek on the other side. to see the tree you have to drive behind the walmart near the loading dock. you will see a fence and embankment with a cleared patch behind the fence. there is a monument near the tree so if you somehow miss the towering tree itself, look for the monument.
this tree is over 400 years old! the local indians used to use this tree as a landmark. this tree is the location of the first hot air balloon landing (for which deptford nj takes the fame).
so, is it sad that this tree is behind a walmart? well, yes but surprisingly the development of this land opened it up for public access. yes, i am glad that it is somewhat protected and accessible to the general public. when you think about the sheer amount of history that gets developed and paved over every day (especially in nj), it is nice to know that this tree still exists.
next time you go to pick up some groceries or cleaning supplies or to do your christmas shopping, maybe take a moment to drive behind the deptford nj walmart and visit the clement oak.