Following America’s entry into World War II in 1942, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. White of Kingsport proposed a plan to plant native flowering dogwoods to honor the members of the armed services from the city who died fighting in the war.
The Kingsport Garden Club, which had been established in 1938, adopted this as a project and created a fund to purchase and plant the dogwoods. The club also sent cards to the respective families as the trees were planted along what is now Fort Henry Drive from Center Street to Eastman Road and from Memorial Boulevard to Fort Henry Drive.
When the trees were planted, the entire street was called Memorial Boulevard because of this project. Eventually, 1,032 trees were planted, some being added up until 1970 including trees to honor garden club members.
The custom was discontinued after many of the trees died or became diseased. Trees determined to be capable of surviving were moved to more woodland settings.
In recognition of the sacrifices of veterans represented by Kingsport’s Veterans Memorial, on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015, the Kingsport Garden Club gave two dogwoods to the memorial grounds. A small pedestal displaying a plaque
describing the memorial dogwood project is located near the Indian Court entrance to the Veterans Memorial.