There are a number of so-called “treaty oaks” found around America, usually singled out as the location of an important agreement or truce, but the treaty oak in Jacksonville, Florida is just called that so no one will tear it down.
Believed to be around 250 years old, the many-limbed Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) tree located in what is now known as Treaty Oak Park has grown into a lazily wide circumference with thick branches sprouting off at all angles like a massive wooden cephalopod. However the mighty arbor (which was originally known as just the “Giant Oak”) was almost the victim of urban sprawl.
As the city of Jacksonville grew in the 1930s the large amount of land on which the tree sat began looking mighty appealing to developers so fans of the ancient oak took (somewhat shady [get it?]) action. Pat Moran, a local reporter, got together with a member of the Jacksonville Garden Club, and devised a plan to save the tree involving him fabricating a news story about American Indians signing some kind of accord with white settlers beneath the tree, thereby making the oak a historic monument. The clever scheme worked, and the new Treaty Oak was saved.
Today the huge tree still stands and is kept in good health by regular preservation efforts which are trying to ensure another 400 years of life for the oak. Hopefully that will be the truth.