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The Rose Tree Museum started as a boarding home for a mining company. One couple's stay turned a simple boarding home into a local historical site for the upcoming generations of Tombstone, Arizona to love. The rose tree was planted and survived in the Arizona desert and continues to grow to this day. In honor of the "World's Largest Rose Tree," Tombstone hosts an annual Rose Festival.

  • This is a photo of the World's Largest Rose Tree's trunk. The trunk is 14 feet.
  • This is a photo of Ethel Macia with the rose tree.
  • This is Tombstone's postcard featuring the rose tree in the 1940s.
  • This sign is posted so visitors can read the Rose Tree's story and where it comes from.
In 1884 a newly wedded couple came to Tombstone, Arizona from Scotland. The new husband was working for the Vizinia mining company, that offered housing to couples working for the company. Mary, the new wife of Henry Gee, grew up in Scotland and befriended Amelia Adamson, the woman who managed the boarding home, when she moved. On the couple’s first wedding anniversary, Mary’s family sent her a box with items that were true to her homelands, such as plants, bulbs, cuttings from her garden in Scotland, and several root cuttings from a White Lade Banksia rose tree that she had planted as a child. Mary and Amelia planted the root cuttings by a woodshed in the back patio of the boarding home, the same woodshed that had to be cut down years later, so the rose tree could keep growing. The Scottish rose tree grew in the Arizona desert even though it was a different climate. Although the women did not know it yet, their friendship started a tradition in Tombstone for generations to enjoy.

When one of the oldest families who settled in Tombstone bought the boarding home and turned it into an Inn, Ethel Macia became fascinated with the rose tree. Since it was planted, the rose tree had grown very tall and wide. Ethel Macia loved the view, and her husband, James, saw the value in the rose tree. By devising a trellis system of wood poles and metal pipes, James gave the rose tree the support it needed to grow even bigger. He used the rose tree as a shady patio for the Inn’s guests. 

As the rose tree grew even bigger, it began to attract a lot of attention from people all over the world. In 1933, the rose tree was featured as the “World’s Largest Rose Tree” in a column called “Strange As It Seems,” and was even included in Robert Ripley’s famous “Believe It or Not” column. The Rose Tree holds the title of the “World’s Largest Rose Tree” in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Rose Tree Inn has now been converted to the Rose Tree Museum. The patio and backyard are still open to the public for a $5.00 admission price. The tree now covers almost 5,000 square feet. There is also an elevated viewing platform to see the tree’s large canopy.

During the tree’s blooming season, the town holds an annual Rose Festival in April to celebrate the town’s “Shady Lady.” This festival attracts people from all over the world in hopes of seeing this beautiful Rose Tree. The 2019 Rose Festival will mark the 133rd blooming of the rose tree. A couple of the festivities include naming an outstanding high school student the Rose Queen of that year, a pancake breakfast, old-fashioned box lunch auction, and the annual Rose Parade. The festival also has a variety of shows for entertainment such as historical gunfights, Art in the Park, Mariachi and Folklorico performances, and a round-table discussion with members of Tombstone’s oldest pioneer families.

Robins, Ted. 'World's Largest Rosebush' Graces Arizona Desert Town. npr. April 16, 2014. Accessed December 04, 2018.

Tombstone Rose Tree Museum Update. Down by the River Bed and Breakfast. . Accessed December 08, 2018.

Rose Tree Museum. . .