West Plains’ historic, hidden gem

One of the largest native trees in North America, the tulip poplar can reach heights of 150 feet. A member of the magnolia family, the tulip poplar is named for its distinct tulip-shaped leaves and flowers. These showy, goblet-shaped, green, orange, and yellow flowers appear in late spring.

Tulip poplars can be found across the Show-Me State, one such tree in West Plains provides a little-known connection to a founding father.

Standing tall in the middle of the Georgia White Walking Park is an offspring of a tulip poplar that George Washington planted in 1775 at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The Missouri Department of Conservation, with assistance from the West Plains Rotary, planted the offspring tree April 3, 1991.


The Georgia White Walking Park offers a 2.4-mile blacktopped trail conveniently located in the heart of the city. It is located on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Thornburgh Street.

The park is named in honor of Georgia White, who in 1989 donated a portion of the land behind her home to the city of West Plains to develop a walking park. White passed away from cancer in 1990 before the park could be completed.

White began operating a boarding home out of her house in 1968 and continued to run it for many years taking care of the town’s elderly population.