|DATE/TIME||6/19/04 9:21:10 PM|
|LAT/LON (WGS 84)|
This beloved tree is a field specimen Southern Live Oak, best known for its size, age and legendary past. Over 70 feet tall, with a 25 foot trunk circumference, the so-called Treaty Oak is at least two centuries old.
In the early 1900s, Giant Oak, as it was called then, was often festooned with electric lights. As the main attraction of Dixieland Amusement Park, where Babe Ruth once played baseball and John Phillip Sousa gave a concert, it provided shady picnic grounds for families and a backdrop for the silent films that were produced nearby in 1910.
Although the bright lights, the music, and the glamour of the movies faded away at the end of World War I, the tree and this site remained dear to the people of Jacksonville.
Treaty Oak was given its popular name by a journalist who was intent on saving it from developers. Even though it was not true, the reporter wrote a newspaper story that claimed that a treaty had been signed by Indians and early settlers beneath the trees bountiful limbs.
The fate of Jacksonville's favorite oak was secured not by fiction but by dedication and generosity. "Treaty Oak" still stands today largely as a result of the tireless efforts of the Garden Club of Jacksonville, working with other civic organizations, to persuade City officials not to permit construction near Treaty Oak.
In 1964, at the request of the Garden Club, Jesse Ball duPont, a longtime member of the Garden Club's Early Settlers Circle, bought the remaining seven lots surrounding Treaty Oak, she gave this land to the City for use only as a public park, preventing construction of future buildings or other development.
Originally called Treaty Oak Park, this site was renamed to Jesse Ball duPont Park in recognition of her generous spirit and abiding love of nature.
That spirit and love will be kept alive here through the deep appreciation of all who enjoy the natural beauty she helped preserve for generations to come. "