The Latin name means "tree of life" for it was once believed to have medicinal value in the resin.
Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saw the tree. Young Washington scratched his initials on the "high bridge," and Jefferson bought it.
The writer's paternal grandfather took a photo of it and wrote of the Natural Bridge in his weekly article "Know Your County and State" in The Providence Journal of Northern Virginia.
The arbor vitae was used by certain Native Americans as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
The arbor Vitae is a member of the cypress familiy.