The Tree That Owns Itself – Eufaula, Alabama - Atlas Obscura

The Tree That Owns Itself

An autonomous oak in Alabama.  


Not to be mistaken for the other Tree That Owns Itself, in Athens, Georgia, the self-owning oak tree in Eufala, Alabama (often called the “Walker Oak”) sits proudly independent in the middle of town, with a fitting declaration on its plaque: “ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE.”

In 1935, in the small town of Eufala, the president of the local garden club petitioned the mayor and city council to help her in ensuring the protection of a beloved city tree. The 65-foot tall wide post oak which grew near the center of town was a landmark for the city and a favorite place for local children to play.

A “deed of sentiment” was granted and recorded by Mayor E.H. Graves, who stated that the tree was “a creation and gift of the Almighty, standing in our midst—to itself—to have and to hold itself, its branches, limbs, trunks and roots so long as it shall live.” An iron fence was erected around the tree, and a plaque was installed to inform visitors.

Then, in 1961, the 200-year-old oak was toppled by a terrible windstorm. A local business donated and planted a new oak on the same spot only 10 days after the storm passed. Ownership rights were transferred to the replacement tree.

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From Cotton Avenue, turn onto Highland Avenue/Shorter Street.

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