“Outdoors & Recreation in GA”
One of the more offbeat attractions in Athens is The Tree That Owns Itself. It's technically the Son of the Tree that Owns Itself (the original tree toppled over in the 1940s and was replaced with an acorn from the first oak) but the story behind this stately tree is no less fascinating. The story of how the Tree That Owns Itself came to, well, own itself is a little murky. According to an 1890 front-page article in the Athens Daily Banner, a man named William Jackson grew up on the property and had such fond childhood memories of the tree that he wanted to make sure that it would never, ever get cut down. So, to ensure that the tree would be protected even after his death, at some point between 1820 and 1832 he deeded ownership of the tree and surrounding land to the tree itself. Unfortunately, if such a deed ever did exist, it would have absolutely no legal standing whatsoever. Common law 101 (and common sense) states that the person receiving the property must have the legal capacity to receive it-- and a tree isn't exactly capable of accepting any property. Furthermore, research into William Jackson proves that while he did live on the same property as the tree, it was when he as an adult, not a child. The icing on the cake is that there's no evidence of such a deed, and even at the time of the article, no one could remember much about how the tree came to own itself. But, even though the deed is basically bunk in the eyes of the law, the public recognizes it wholeheartedly, and even the government has professed that they would acknowledge that the tree (and thusly, its son) owns itself. But don't worry about trespassing on its property... It probably likes having visitors every now and then.
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The Tree That Owns Itself
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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