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So Long, Old Friend


Smithies share memories of a campus landmark


Published April 2, 2024

Sad, yet necessary, is how Smith’s arboriculture team described the decision to remove the 100-year-old sugar maple above Paradise Pond known to generations as the “Swing Tree.” After monitoring the beloved tree’s ailing health for years, arborists decided it was finally time to say goodbye. John Berryhill, interim director of the Botanic Garden of Smith College, says his team aims to ensure that future Smithies “have access to the simple joys that this tree and swing have given us.” To that end, the swing will be moved to another campus tree this spring, and two new trees will be planted in the iconic sugar maple’s place, in hopes of one day “bringing the swing back home.” At right, Smithies share what they’ve loved most about the tree.

“Even 25 years later, it was the perfect spot to catch up with my Smithie bestie.”
“When I toured, I said to my mom, ‘OMG and they even have a swing!’ Now I’m going this fall.”
“The quiet sereneness of sitting, swinging, and taking in the pond.”
“Seeing it empty from my room in Park House, then running down the stairs to go use it.”
“I named the tree Celia—she was such a princess.”
“Watching my daughter as she swung, contemplating her bright future at Smith.”
“First kiss with my fiancée.”
“Meditating there to ground myself in my new community and home.”
“I always sat there while calling my mom; it was so relaxing.”
“Falling in love with myself and my life during spring of 2022!”
“Listening to Talking Heads at midnight with my friends, all cramped together on the swing.”
“Sitting here in the sun and reading books with the person who became my best friend.”
“Sitting on the swing next to my best friends on Mountain Day, feeling the warm sun and gentle breeze.”
“After a hard day, I got ice cream in the to-go containers and ate it during the sunset on the swing.”

“Feeling at home there instantly and always.”