History of the Tanger Arboretum
The Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum (pronounced “tan’ -jer”) on the grounds of LancasterHistory.org was designed by Gustaf Malmborg of Manheim, PA. Malmborg also designed the beautiful grounds of the Masonic Homes in Elizabethtown, PA.
When the Willson Memorial Building was constructed in 1956, neighbor and naturalist Louise Arnold Tanger approached the Board of Trustees of the then Lancaster County Historical Society with a request to be allowed to plant trees on the barren grounds surrounding the building. The Board agreed and invited Mrs. Tanger to join the board where she took charge of the grounds until her death in 1959. At this time, her son Charles took her place and served as the historical society’s naturalist for many years until his death in 1991. Following Charles Tanger’s death, the Board established a group known as The Friends of the Tanger Arboretum for the purpose of creating public interest and support for the maintenance and development of this community asset. A master landscaping plan was designed, tree labels were added, and a map developed for self-guided tours.
For new information about the Arboretum, please visit the Tanger Arboretum’s blog.
The Tanger Arboretum is an accredited Arboretum, Level 1, by ArbNet.
About the ACS Reference Garden
In late 2015, an American Conifer Society (ACS) Reference Garden was planted on the grounds of LancasterHistory.org as part of the Tanger Arboretum. This reference garden, also referred to as the Dwarf Conifer Garden, contains many species of dwarf and miniature conifers. (A conifer is considered miniature if it grows less than 3 inches per year; a dwarf if it grows 1 – 6 inches per year.) The Dwarf Conifer Garden is recognized by the American Conifer Society and received Reference Garden designation after meeting several criteria, including the number of conifers, accurate labeling of conifers, and proper maintenance of conifers.
The garden is open for visitation from dawn to dusk on the grounds of LancasterHistory.org. A map of the trees is also available (see “Visiting The Arboretum” for more information).
Visiting The Arboretum
The Tanger Arboretum is open from dawn to dusk to the public. There is no admission fee. Maps of the Arboretum and the Dwarf Conifer Reference Garden are available at the front desk at LancasterHistory.org during LancasterHistory.org operating hours. Maps can also be viewed using a smartphone or other internet enabled device or downloaded a printed.
If you wish to organize a guided tour of the Arboretum for a group (10+ people), please visit and complete a Group Tours inquiry form online.
The Friends of the Tanger Arboretum is a membership organization with its own Board of Directors. It is a subsidiary organization of LancasterHistory.org. Each year, the organization holds an annual dinner meeting in the spring, an Arbor Day celebration the last Saturday of April, and a Fall Clean-Up Day. Membership dues go towards the care and conservation of the Tanger Arboretum.
Interested in membership? Download, print, and mail a Friends of the Tanger Arboretum Membership Form to:
Friends of the Tanger Arboretum
230 North President Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603
Additional questions can be submitted via the Contact Form.