The Eufala Oak The Owns Itself

Apr 14, 2018 0 comments

There once stood a huge oak tree near the center of Eufala, a small city in Alabama, the United States. The 65-foot-tall tree was the city’s landmark and a favorite place for local children to play under. In 1919 a violent tornado lashed through the city, but the oak tree survived. Later, the tree also survived a fire. The locals thought it was a divine sign and petitioned the city council to deed the tree to itself.  

In 1936, a “deed of sentiment” was granted which reads in part: “I. E. H. Graves, as Mayor of the City of Eufaula, do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the ‘Post Oak Tree,” not as an individual, partnership nor corporation, but as a creation and gift of the Almighty, standing in our midst—to itself—to have and to hold itself, its branches, limbs, trunk and roots so long as it shall live.”


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And just like that, the Eufala oak became the second tree in America to own itself—the first one is located in Athens, in the state of Georgia.

Unfortunately, after withstanding many storms, the tree was destroyed in 1961 when destructive winds swept through Eufaula. At the time, the tree was estimated to be greater than 200 years old.

The tree was replaced by another tree only to die again and be replaced. The tree that currently stands there retains the ownership to itself.


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