Greensburg, Indiana: Tree on the Courthouse Roof

Growing out of the top of a tower, the tree never seems to die -- which has led to speculation that the town sticks in a new one every few decades.

Decatur County Courthouse

Address:
E. Main St., Greensburg, IN
Directions:
I-74 to Hwy 3 exit, then south to the center of the town. At the Decatur County Courthouse corner nearest E. Main and N. Franklin Sts.
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Tower Tree

The courthouse tower grows new trees constantly, and steeplejacks have to cut them out and trim the main tree. When the current tree gets too old or a disease, they will allow one of the others to grow and take the current one down. Never has one been planted. They are believed to be seeds from bird droppings.

[Jason, 10/21/2010]
Rooftop Tree That Won't Die

As a former resident of Greensburg, it's a well-known fact (but not really talked about) that there's been over 16 trees to grace the tower. The tree is the only "claim to fame" the town seems to hold onto, so they keep the latest tree alive by any means...at least, until it dies, and they have to replace it, too.

Also...the joke. Eh, I think it only amuses the older generation now. Most of the younger crowd doesn't give a damn about the tree or the festival...or the town. It's a shame, really (and that makes this 28-year-old sound so old saying this), but it's all a part of "progress."

[Ruth, 03/15/2006]
Tree on the Courthouse roof.  Tree on the Courthouse Roof

Tree on the Decatur County Courthouse roof, Greensburg, Indiana.

[ILLHOOSIER, 09/18/1999]

Barbara Jasper relays a joke that Greensburgians never tire of:
Q: Do you know how the tree gets water?
A: From the spring in the clock.

Tree on the Courthouse Roof

Greensburg, Indiana's claim to fame is a tree growing out of the roof of the courthouse in the center of town. Greensburg is about half way between Indianapolis and Cincinatti on Interstate 74. Does anyone know the story behind this?

[Pamela Heeke, 09/11/1997]

The story is that a tree first sprouted on the roof of the Decatur County Courthouse in 1870, and was removed. In 1875 another one appeared, and grew there until 1929, when it "failed to take leaf." Meanwhile, another started growing on the other side of the tower, and then still another tree appeared. Greensburg celebrates the trees, which grow with no visible means of nourishment, by hosting an annual "Tree City Fall Festival."

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