1984 - Chesapeake Arbor Society formed; Master Gardeners Abby Hughes and Wade Long proposed building an arboretum; Dr. Sam Selden, Arbor Society’s first president, proposed that the design created by the group be incorporated into the planned Bells Mill Park. Other original Society members include Jeanne Perrenaud, Pete Burkhimer, Dorothy Kowalsky, Byron Carmean

1987 – Non-profit Chesapeake Arboretum, Inc. incorporated; landscape design work began based on ideas proposed by Wade Long. Founding members pooled resources; Treasurer Phil Johnson made group’s initial deposit of $12.84

1990 – Wade Long, “Father of the Chesapeake Arboretum”, died

1991 – (June) Bells Mill Park site unveiled to the public; (Sept.) – EPA declared site toxic, unfit for use, rendering Chesapeake Arboretum “homeless”

1992 – Negotiations began with Williamson, Hall and Whitehurst families to donate land for new Arboretum site

1994 – City Council accepted donation of 47+/- acres and agreed to lease the property to Chesapeake Arboretum, Inc. Transformation process began;  Jack Starr, Howard Hughes, Phil Johnson, crew of USS Mississippi and many others blazed trails, designed and erected bridges, repaired buildings, implemented visionary plans for “Nature’s Classroom”

1999? and 2000? - Great Bridge Jaycees held Virginia Wine Festival onsite

2000? 2001? Camellia Cove established with help of Rick Morsink and others in the Virginia Camellia Society

2001 - Pete Edlund, Phil Johnson, Mik Lestyan and others established Tree Propagation Nursery; Bonnie Applewhite instrumental in creation of experimental Utility Line Experimental Arboretum

2002 - Ripararian buffer zone near Bridge “H” area of trails

2004? - Website chesapeakearboretum.com launched, courtesy Nancie Laing and City of Chesapeake Public Library; online gift shop at CafePress.com launched

2005 – Chesapeake Master Gardener Ed Bradley prepared Tree Tour Guide for Master Gardeners (and others)

2007 – Chesapeake Arboretum celebrated 20th Anniversary

2008/2009 – Photography contest winning entries “toured” Chesapeake locations such as libraries, restaurants, churches on rotating monthly basis

2009 - Designated “Virginia Green Attraction” by Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality; recognized by Elizabeth River Project for “Sustained Distinguished Performance” as ERP “RiverStar”; inaugural AutumnFest; perennial stream named “Starr Run” by Chesapeake City Council in honor of Jack Starr

2010 - Network TV show Jeopardy!® featured Chesapeake Arboretum as $800 clue; HVAC and storm windows replacement, painting (interior and exterior) completed on homestead farmhouse; Camellia Cove endowment created in association with Virginia Camellia Society; Chesapeake Arboretum designated American Camellia Trail destination; Ed & Linda Bradley and others blazed new “Native Tree Trail” loop, with accompanying (1st in proposed series) trail guide published identifying 37 native tree species; Baker family donated hickory wood flooring to replace termite-damaged original flooring; received ISA “Gold Leaf” Award; Mik Lestyan designated first Chesapeake Urban Forester in Parks/Rec Dept. & moved his office to Caleb Williamson farmhouse; website updated, address changed to chesarbor.org

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