Witness Tree Buttons



BUTTONS for BARNS: What Did You Do During the Lockdown?

                Even the dark cloud of Covid has a silver lining. Back in March during the pandemic lockdown I began making buttons...again. I first started making buttons during the run-up to the 150th battle anniversary seven years ago. Longtime HGAC member, Bruce Kile, mentioned to me that country folks used to make buttons from the American Sycamore tree (AKA "Buttonwood Tree").

                Along Baltimore Street in Gettysburg, there happens to be a massive American Sycamore tree. This tree was a "witness" to the great battle and to Lincoln's procession to the cemetery where he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Picking up fallen branches from this living "witness tree," and using them to make buttons, I gave sets of buttons as gifts to friends.

                Fast forward to July, 2020. An old friend of ours owns an online business called "The French Needle," offering supplies and accessories from around the world for fine needlecraft...including buttons! A few days after sending samples of witness tree buttons to the French Needle, we were surprised and thrilled to see that the buttons were posted for sale, along with this message: "100% of the purchase price will go to the Historic Gettysburg-Adams County Preservation Society's Barn Preservation Project." Button sales were brisk, and thanks to some great ideas from Walter and Jeannette Smith, my production process improved greatly!

                By August, button sales were over $1,700. Even better, the French Needle will be writing a check for total button sales as a donation to this year's Giving Spree on Nov. 5th. Buttons come in regular and large sizes. HGAC President, Anne Zabawa says she thinks they're "Cute as a Button!"

                Not only can you get a piece of history and contribute to HGAC but you can tell others to do the same. Please, button-hole a friend and tell them to visit www.frechneedle.com and have a look at this hot button item that benefits HGAC.

                With your Witness Tree Button from the French Needle you can gather the kids and grandkids for a spirited round of "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?" It doesn't get any better than this!

Bob McIlhenny



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                    Finished Buttons


        American Sycamore Tree 

Historic Gettysburg-Adams County, Inc.
  PO Box 4611, Gettysburg, PA 17325