Quirky Attraction: The tree that owns itself

Tree that owns itself

The Tree That Owns Itself
: Athens, Georgia (corner of Finley & Dearing St.)
When to visit: Anytime during daylight hours
Cost: Free
Time needed: 5 minutes
Website: Wikipedia page (unofficial)

I feel like I’ve been writing about a lot of normal places lately. So it’s time for a new regular feature introducing some of the quirkiest attractions I’ve ever encountered.

Edition #1 focuses on The Tree That Owns Itself. Yes, it’s just as bizarre as it sounds. The story apparently goes like this: In 1880, Colonel William H. Jackson decreed that a white oak on his property be deeded to itself, because he didn’t want it to be destroyed after he died. So he filed a legal document and now the tree legally owns itself and the land within the eight feet surrounding it.

That wouldn’t hold up in a court of law, but local folks recognize the deed and local authorities look after the tree. The original tree fell in 1942, but a new one was planted from one of its acorns. Now, it’s a large, thriving tree in the middle of a residential street.

Visiting the Tree That Owns Itself in Athens

If you’d like to see the Tree that Owns Itself, head to the intersection of Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens. You’ll find the tree, along with a stone marker with a quote from Jackson explaining the history of the site.

Tree that owns itself stone

The tree has been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Athens, Georgia tourism has its own page dedicated to the tree. This is one of the wackier quirky roadside attractions I’ve come across. Aside from the tree and the stone, there’s not much to see here, so you won’t need more than a few minutes at the site.

Of course, the tree has its own Facebook page. If you ask me, that tree is a big publicity whore!


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About the Author

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based journalist and blogger who seeks out offbeat attractions and awesome destinations around the world. He has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Connect Magazine, Matador Travel, and the Washington Post.

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  1. I grew up on Dearing street and we were all very proud to have this tree on our street. We used to walk down the street to see it.

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