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Tree That Owns Itself, Athens

Inspirock Rating:
3.7/5 based on 75+ reviews on the web
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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  • It's simply a tree. There's nothing fancy about it, but that's ok. It's a really unique piece of Athens history. The cobblestone road was really cool too. Yes, it's bumpy but that's normal for a very ...  read more »
  • Saw online before visiting Athens, read the history and wanted to see it myself. A quick stop as their isn't much to see. I will warn that the turn off W Broad onto S Finley is cobblestone and bumpy a...  read more »
  • This tree is the offspring of the original tree. It is in a small lot that was deeded to the tree. This is a local curiosity. 
  • This is a pretty cool story. The cobble stone hill to get to the tree in the middle of an adorable neighborhood, makes it charming.
  • It's quite a beautiful tree. And obviously mentally superior to other trees, because it owns itself. Nice that a piece of nature is being preserved. And the government can't do a thing about it. ;) Cherish this tree.
  • Oh dear lawd! Thats the tree my dog violated! Im so sorry! My dog was in the area and he really doesnt know any better. Im terribly sorry. If only there was a fire hydrent nearby. But those squirrels where using doing it on Tree That Owns Itself. So it must be okay with a little tinkle party? Right? Oh my gosh that sounds bad. Im so sorry!
  • A cool, serene location.
  • Dirty hippies. Jk. Pretty cool that a tree holds its own deed. I am surprised that the US government would be okay with this...then again, money was involved so anything's possible...
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