News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Classic City Arborists is a family-owned business started right here in our very own Athens, Georgia. We’re proud to bleed red and black (go Dawgs!), and our Athens heritage is just as much a part of our company as our honest work ethic and loyal customers.
As you probably know, Athens is an old town with lots of rich history. This city is made of relics from years past that stand alive and well today, like the Arch on UGA campus and most of downtown.
But there’s some history of Athens that isn’t locked away in buildings or structures. Some of our city’s legacy lives in its trees.
Tree That Owns Itself
If you’ve lived in Athens for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of the Tree That Owns Itself. This once-massive white oak stood on the corner of Dearing Street and South Finley Street. A faded plaque at its base explained that this tree was deeded itself by former owner, Colonel William H. Jackson.
According to legend (and a newspaper article or two), Col. Jackson grew up by this tree, and loved it dearly. So much so, in fact, that in his will, that left the tree and all land 8 feet in all directions to the tree itself.
At the time, this presented something of a legal conundrum. How can a tree own itself? But the City of Athens, after some time, officially recognized the tree’s right.
Unfortunately, the Tree That Owns Itself was damaged during an ice storm in 1907. After many years of erosion near its base, root rot, and other conditions, the 100-foot-tall oak fell to the ground. It was replaced in 1964 by one of its seedlings that had been cultivated by Captain Jack Watson.
Thus, the Son of the Tree That Owns Itself legally inherited itself and all land 8 feet in every direction from its base.
Spec Towns Oak
The Spec Towns Oak is named after Olympic track and field star Spec Towns. After winning a gold medal in the high hurdles, Towns’ athletic director Herman Stegeman presented him with an oak from the Black Forest in Berlin. This oak was planted behind the North Stands of Sanford Stadium and stood for just over 30 years.
However, in 1967, the stadium was expanded. The Spec Towns Oak was moved elsewhere on campus, but the team in charge failed to dig a hole large enough for the tree’s root system. To solve this, they cut back the roots until everything fit. Unfortunately, this led to the tree’s death not long after.
The late Dean of Men, Mr. William Tate, got into contact with Berlin and managed to have a replacement tree from the Black Forest brought to campus. That tree also died, for unknown reasons (usually attributed to problems surviving the international trip).
But as luck would have it, an acorn of this replacement tree was saved, and planted successfully. So now, the Son of the Half-Brother of the Specs Town Oak survives on the south end of the Spec Towns Track.
The Pecan Tree Courtyard at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education
You might not find this one on a list of historic landmarks for our city, but we certainly think it’s worth a visit. The Georgia Center for Continuing Education features a wildly popular restaurant with courtyard seating centered around a large pecan tree.
Pecan trees are known for their stunning foliage displays (and of course, their delicious pecans), and many believe this tree and the view it provides has contributed to the restaurant’s success over the years.
The Tree Room
The Tree Room, located at 159 Oneta Street, is known for the large mulberry tree growing inside it. In the 1960s, some kind of fire or other incident left most of the space exposed to nature, with much of the inside charred or burned. For many decades, it stood empty, and it was during this period that the mulberry tree began to grow.
Over time, the building was used for a variety of purposes: a squat house for travelers, a dumping ground for a neighboring concrete plant, and even a playground for local children.
Now, the building has been transformed into an event space owned by Athenians Ashely and Doug Booher, who discovered the building and tree as children and grew to love it. Most of the original architecture still stands, with accommodations made in the name of safety and design.
The name “the Tree Room” comes from the toddler of one of the Booher’s friends, and is proudly used by the public to refer to this stunning natural display.
If you’re looking for more beautiful trees to look at, then you should definitely pay a visit to the University of Georgia’s Arboretum.
Where is the Arboretum, you ask? Across the entire campus!
The founders of UGA didn’t want to dedicated any one location as an arboretum, because they didn’t want it to be inaccessible to anyone in town. Instead, they treated the entire campus as an arboretum, planting a wild range of species all over.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.