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The 1500-year old Charleston’s Angel Oak Tree

 

ANGEL Oak, aSouthern live oak (Quercusvirginiana)located east of the Rockiesin the wooded area ofJohn’s Island near Charleston, South Carolinais allegedly the oldest tree,and is estimated to be more than 1500 years old.

Historical records trace the ownership of the tree and the land on which it stands to 1717 when it was given to Abraham Waight as part of a land grant. In addition, Mr. Waight was an extremely wealthy man who also owned several plantations. The tree has stayed in that family for over four generations. The land was also used as part of a marriage settlement between Justus Angel and his wife, Martha Waight Tucker Angel.

Today, Angel Oak serves as the focal point of a public park in South Carolina and since 1991, the tree and the surrounding park is owned by the City of Charleston.

With a height of more than 66.5 feet (20m), current circumference of 28 feet (8.5m), a diameter spread of 160 feet, a canopy shade covering about 17,100 square feet (1,600m2) of ground and the longest branch distance being 187ft in length; it was the 210th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society.

Over the centuries, Angels Oak has survived rough weather including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods as well as human interference; but was in 1989 severely damaged during Hurricane Hugo, but had since recovered.

Development is beginning to encroach on the site of Angel Oak. In 2012, plans to build a 500-unit apartment complex that would be 160 yards (150 m) from Angel Oak were challenged in court by a group called Save the Angel Oak and the Coastal Conservation League; their concerns included the construction’s effect on available groundwater and nutrients. By December, 2013, another South Carolina non-profit celebrated “the preservation of 17 acres adjacent to the majestic tree.”

The Angel Oak tree is featured prominently in the book The Heart of A Child by Emily Nelson.

 

Materials and pictures extracted from:

www.craftedcharlestontours.com; Wikipedia and Weird World.

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