The Taylor Arboretum at Widener University was dedicated to the memory of Anne Rulon Gray, a local civic leader, by her husband Joshua Taylor. The couple had purchased the property in 1914 as a retreat from the hectic pace of Chester City. During the Great Depression and World War II, J.C. Taylor spent time here contemplating life’s issues and planting some of the pines on the property. After his passing in 1946, a trust fund was established that still funds the arboretum today. Widener University currently holds the trust and operates the arboretum.
Most of the plant collections and specimens that you will find here were planted between 1951 and 1959. There are state champion trees on the grounds. The Korea Juniper and the Laceback Elm are the largest of their species in the state. Presently we are working to bring the ecosystem into a more diverse and sustainable state. Invasive plant species such as Japanese honeysuckle, multiflora-rose and miler-a-minute weed are being removed.
Plants native to the region including shadbush, viburnums and dogwoods are being added. This is a slow process as the invasive plants provide some habitation for the abundant wildlife found on the grounds. Time must be allowed for the new plantings to mature so they can provide the shelter and food needed to sustain the animal life.