Student Organization Sustains Buckeye Grove Tradition, Honoring “All Americans”

Buckeye Grove Outside of “The Shoe”

“The dedication was after the Wisconsin game and I remember it was raining, but Rex Kern and Coach Hayes were there, and it was truly one of the highlights of my career…It’s also something I can bring the kids back to later in life to show them this living thing in my honor.”

            –Tom Skladany, 3 time All-American (1974-1976)

In 1929, eleven buckeye trees were planted in the Buckeye All-American Arbor at the northeast corner of 16th Ave. and Tuttle Park Pl. to represent the first starters of the Ohio State football team.  The Arbor, later renamed Buckeye Grove, was planted by the Scarlet Key, a non-profit group of student athletic managers dedicated to serving the OSU community and the athletic program.  From this year forward, a tree has been dedicated to honor each football All-American, totaling over 130 trees.

Ohio Staters, Inc., a student service organization committed to promoting the welfare and traditions of the Ohio State University, has also played a vital role in the history of Buckeye Grove.  In 1955, Staters took over the responsibilities for planting new buckeye trees and preparing a ceremony to honor All-Americans during Homecoming Week.  During this event, coaches, players, and Buckeye fans came together to commemorate this prestigious accomplishment.  Players, returning to Ohio Stadium, customarily

Buckeye Trees line the path through Buckeye Grove

tossed the first pile of dirt on the newly planted buckeye tree.

In the 1960’s, Staters began the process of moving Buckeye Grove across the street to the southeast side of Ohio Stadium.  Included in this transition was a plan to create a park-like complex featuring benches, walkways, and a fountain.  This plan was never completed, but Buckeye Grove remained in this new location until 1997.  Again, when the Grove was moved to its current location in front of Morrill Tower on the southwest side of Ohio Stadium, there were plans to create a public space for the Ohio State community to acknowledge the continued excellence of its football program.

Thanks to the commitment of the Ohio Staters, Inc., the University athletic department, and Ohio State’s Department of Facilities, Operations and Development, there has been a renewed focus on inviting students and Buckeye fans into the grove.  This has included new signage, park benches, and the replacement of older, broken plaques.

Native to Ohio, the Buckeye tree thrives where other plant life struggles, is difficult to kill, sprouts poisonous nuts,  and adapts well to its circumstances.  The analogy between the Buckeye tree and Ohioans has been around for centuries, and in 1950 the OSU Athletic Council officially adopted the term to describe OSU athletes, student, and fans.

Chic Harley Plaque in Buckeye Grove

Each tree in Buckeye Grove, now located outside of the southwest of Ohio Stadium, is designated with a plaque denoting the honored player.  New trees are usually planted prior to the annual Spring Game in April.  Each fall, fans flock to the grove to collect the fallen Buckeye nuts for good luck.

Submitted by Ohio Staters, Inc.

 

 

About: Heather Blackmon-doForno

As a member of the Ohio State University Marching Band, I quickly grew to appreciate the dedication and pride each Big Ten Marching Band exhibits, as well as the traditions, history and culture of each school they represent. Being a passionate world traveler, my trips to Big Ten schools have always involved an effort to go beyond the game, scoping out the best local places to eat, delving into local history, viewing the campus architecture and learning about quirky folklore.