Saturday, September 6, 2008

Treaty Oak

Approaching from the road, you'll see what looks like a couple trees surrounded by a series of bushes. It's only once you breach the umbrella of this great beast that you realize that one solitary plant is responsible for the sprawling expanse of vegetation.

treaty oak

Quercus virginiana, the Southern Live Oak, a hardy, evergreen tree found throughout much of the Southern United States... where left unmolested by man that is. Jacksonville's Treaty Oak, nestled in a park on Prudential Drive, almost shared the fate of so many of its brethren.

In the early 1900s, the tree was a main attraction of the Dixieland Amusement Park. It received the name Treaty Oak when a reporter fabricated a story about the signing of a treaty between natives and settlers on the site to save the tree from developers. But what has really saved it from the axe is the continued influence of the Garden Club of Jacksonville. The land within which the oak is rooted and the immediate surrounds was bought by Jessie Ball duPont, a member of the Garden Club, and donated to the City of Jacksonville in 1964 for the explicit purpose of preserving this majestic tree.

girl in a tree

According to Wikipedia:
"The trunk is over 25 feet in circumference, it rises to height of 66 feet, and its crown spreads over 145 feet, with twisting branches that bow to the ground and curl back up. The oak shades a roughly circular area, about 190 feet in diameter. Though less than 200 years old, it may nonetheless be the single oldest living thing in Jacksonville, possibly predating the founding of the city by Isaiah Hart during the 1820s."

posing at treaty oak

This tree truly is a majestic specimen and sure to delight any lovers of nature. It's also a nice place to take refuge on a hot, sunny day. Or you could be lame like us and take some poser pictures. Whatever you do, be sure to show some respect... this tree is far more amazing than you are.

Jessie Ball duPont Park
(Treaty Oak Park)
1123 Prudential Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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