A black walnut stands tall on Front Street between the Lynden Chamber of Commerce and the Lynden Post Office. A plaque near the base explains why: The tree, planted about 1882, has been maintained as a memorial to Phoebe Goodell Judson, the "Mother of Lynden."
Judson gave Lynden its name, and her son George platted the town in 1884. The 160-acre pioneer homestead of Phoebe and her husband, Holden, encompassed the land where the walnut stands. Their first home was a log house near where Lynden Skateway is now located. They later built a two-story house on Front Street, about a half-block east of the walnut.
The tree's origin remains uncertain. Some people wonder if Judson obtained one, or was inspired to do so, when she attended a state fair in Salem while she was in Oregon in the early 1870s to visit her mother. A heritage black walnut was planted in Salem in 1863 by the son of Salem pioneer Lewis Judson, who is, apparently, no relation to Phoebe's husband.
The Judsons, likely Holden, planted several black walnuts on their land. As downtown Lynden grew, the Judsons' house was moved and then dissembled, and all but one of the original black walnuts disappeared.
"It's the last survivor," said Troy Luginbill, director and curator of Lynden Pioneer Museum. "It's a neat tree and it has a lot of history."
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