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Tree That Owns Itself, Athens

3.6
The Tree That Owns Itself is a white oak tree, widely assumed to have legal ownership of itself and of all land within eight feet (2.4 m) of its base. The tree, also called the Jackson Oak, is located at the corner of South Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens, Georgia, United States. The original tree fell in 1942, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns, and planted in the same location. The current tree is sometimes referred to as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself. Both trees have appeared in numerous national publications, and the site is a local landmark.LegendThe earliest-known telling of the tree's story comes from a front-page article entitled "Deeded to Itself" in the Athens Weekly Banner of August 12, 1890. The article explains that the tree had been located on the property of Colonel William Henry Jackson. William Jackson was the son of one James Jackson (a soldier in the American Revolution as well as a Congressman, U.S. Senator, and Governor of Georgia), and the father of another James Jackson (a Congressman and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia). He was the brother of Jabez Young Jackson, also a Congressman. (William Jackson was reportedly a professor at the University of Georgia, and is sometimes given the title of Doctor. The nature of his military service and the source of the title "Colonel" are unknown.) Jackson supposedly cherished childhood memories of the tree, and, desiring to protect it, deeded to it the ownership of itself and its surrounding land. By various accounts, this transaction took place between 1820 and 1832. According to the newspaper article, the deed read:
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Tree That Owns Itself Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
93 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The only real reason to stop by and see this is its quirky little story, which I will leave you to see for yourself.  more »
  • I found this quite curious; something I'd never seen before or even considered. Looks like an ordinary tree on a corner lot with an inscribed stone in front detailing its history. I wonder who it call...  more »
  • This is a tree at the top of a cobblestone street. It has an interesting history, but is nestled in a residential area, and it seems odd to stop by.  more »
Google
  • This is truly a gorgeous piece of history. We paid our respects to the tree late in the evening. It was a quiet part of town, right off of the downtown area. Easy to get to, easy to see, the tree is very nearly in the middle of the street, hard to miss. I liked the fact that I didn't feel like I was trespassing or bothering anyone during our visit. Beautiful area, beautiful tree, and it's very well-kept. Thank you for letting this tree stand. The story is wonderful.
  • A fun little stop if you're in Athens! Be aware that this is in a highly residential area, and be sensitive to the tight roads if you decide to park and go take a look at the tree close up.
  • Very cool place to visit. It's in a residential area, but the story behind the tree makes it worth stopping for a few minutes.
  • This landmark is a highly emotional experience that will change your life forever.
  • Tree was very nice! Offered drinks for a very reasonable price and the food was a bit earthy but that's just fine! Very nice tree and had great manners. Great with the kids too heck he could be their dad for me. Screw it, I'm leaving my kids there since the tree is better than me.

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