AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amherst Historical Society received funding to help preserve a historic sycamore tree that is more than 260 years old outside the Amherst History Museum.

The ‘Groom Tree,’ was planted at 67 Amity Street in Amherst to mark the marriage of Simeon Strong and Sarah Wright in 1767. There was a custom of planting two long-lasting sycamore trees to celebrate marriages and were commonly referred to as “bride and groom” trees, a gift that expressed the wish for a long union of the couple, according to the Amherst Historical Society.

The ‘Bride Tree’ was damaged and removed in the mid-1950s. In order to help preserve the ‘Groom Tree,’ the Town of Amherst is conducting specialized tree work by pruning and installing cabling and lightning rods.

Lightning rods protect from a direct lightning strike and initiate a fire. The rod intercepts a lightning strike, provides a conductive path for the harmful electrical discharge to follow the appropriate copper or aluminum cable, and disperses the energy safely into the ground.

The funding was provided by the Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant which will help support the ongoing care and maintenance of the tree.