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Alabama NewsCenter — In Eufaula, Alabama, you’ll find a tree that owns itself

| March 17, 2023 @ 4:00 pm

By: Tom Little

In a charming neighborhood in Eufaula, historic homes sit in the shade of swaying trees. Most of these trees belong to the community’s homeowners, but one oak stands out as the Tree that Owns Itself.

Overlooking the intersection of Highland Avenue, Cotton Avenue and U.S. Route 431, a very small parcel of land belongs solely to the tall oak tree whose roots reach deep into it. That arboreal autonomy began in 1935 when Eufaula Mayor E.H. Graves signed a deed to allow a much older tree, known as the Post Oak, the right “to have and to hold itself, its branches, limbs, trunk and roots so long as it shall live.” At the time of the signing, the tree was believed to be 200 years old and had already survived a fire that destroyed the home of the previous owner.

When you stand in the shade of its branches, you might be compelled to ask why a mayor from decades ago would grant an oak tree its own deed. It seems no one knows for certain, but there is a prevailing theory. “That’s the big question,” says Ann Sparks, tourism director at the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce. “We presume it’s something to do with how the land juts out. It’s right there on the highway.”

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Alabama News Center tels the stories of the people and businesses powering the states of Alabama, striving to make Alabama a wonderful place to live and work.

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