When I first visited Athens my junior year of high school as a prospective UGA student, my mother couldn't stop talking about a tree that we had to go see. We all know parents can be a little strange, but this seemed like an odd request even for a mom. She had read somewhere about a tree in Athens, Georgia that actually owns itself. Of course we had to check it out.
Sure enough, at the corner of Finley Street and Dearing Street, about a block off of Broad Street, stands an oak tree with a sign that deeds it to itself. Technically, the tree that stands there today grew from an acorn of the original tree, which fell in 1942. However, the history is still there. Legend has it that in the early 1800s, out of love for a great oak on his property, Professor William H. Jackson deeded to the tree ownership of itself and the land within eight feet of it on all sides to itself. The tree's property rights have never been questioned.
If you have some extra time, the tree is worth seeing. After all, this is the only tree in the world that actually owns itself.
If you read my review about The Tree That Owns Itself, you know how my mother insisted on us going straight to this famous tree as soon as we arrived in Athens for the first time. After she got over the excitement of seeing the only tree in the world that actually owns itself, she wanted to go see the Double-Barreled Cannon next, which is located in front of City Hall downtown.
The famous Double -Barreled Cannon was cast at the Athens Steam Company in 1862. The Cannon is a double six-pounder, cast in one piece, with a three degree divergence from the parallel between the barrels. Each barrel has its own touch hole so it can be fired independent of the other and a common touch hole in the center is designed to fire both barrels simultaneously. The idea was to connect two cannon balls with a chain and mow the enemy down like a scythe cuts wheat. However, the cannon did not quite perform as expected – on the several occasions it was tested, a cow was killed, a chimney was demolished, and rumor has it several onlookers were killed a well. So while the cannon wasn’t too successful, it is still displayed proudly downtown – pointing north, just in case.
Like the tree, this attraction is definitely worth going to see for the sake of its interesting history.
These are some of my favorite spots for walking in Athens and just outside of Athens. Probably the best all around experience would be at the State Botanical Gardens. Drive south on Milledge past the bypass about 1 mile on the right. Miles of beautiful trails by water, gardens, and indoor conservatory of tropical plants. Nearby just off campus are the intramural fields, on College Station Rd. just by the bypass. Watch some soccer or ultimate, (do they still call it that?), bring your dog and walk the trails. Just off Millledge closer in town is Memorial Park, with a lovely little zoo of animals who couldn't otherwise make it in the wild, a pond with ducks and geese who love to be fed, and a small circuit of lovely trails named for a local legend, Fred Birchmore. Or head in the other direction on 441N or Commerce Rd., about one mile out of town on the left hit the Sandy Creek Nature Center, with loads of trails in the woods and by water, dogs on leash welcome, and you can connect with the Athens Greenway here and walk along the river or toward Sandy Creek Park. Or drive over to Sandy Creek, just about one or two miles more up 441 on the right. More trails, sailboats! this is new. Paddle boats, a little swimming "beach" playgrounds, etc. Or drive about 30 minutes outside of town toward Carlton and Elberton on 72. Just as you enter Carlton, you should see signs on the right for Watson Mill Bridge State Park. Trails, a covered bridge, beautiful shoals to wade through, riding trails (bring your own horse.) If you don't mind getting a bit lost, drive out of the park away from Carleton and take in some of the beautiful countryside. You'll make it back to Athens eventually, and maybe get a feel for small town Georgia on the way.
Park Hall. Everyone knows this building situated on UGA (University of Georgia) campus. All the freshmen take their English classes in Park Hall as this is the English Department building. According to the classical tradition of Athens many classical elements (e.g. columnades) adorn UGA buildings. Russell Hall bus will take you there (UGA bus system line).
I took this picture and then stylized it after a famous photograph by Laszlo Maholy-Nagy called 'At coffee.' The original is in The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
This picture was taken in the Founders' Memorial Garden on North Campus.
Another shot of my friend in the park on North Campus (Founders' Memorial Garden). The park has a very nice relaxed athmosphere. It's sort of tucked away in one corner of North Campus.