Historic Markers Across Florida



Jessie Ball duPont Park-Jacksonville's Favorite Oak



Marker ID:  
Location: I Treaty Oak Park on Prudential Dr at Main St, Jacksonville, FL
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 19.024    W 081° 39.493
  30.31706666    -81.65821666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMM3FC
 



Text:

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 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 a treaty had been signed by Indians and early settlers beneath the tree's 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, Jessie Ball duPont, a longtime member of the Garden Club's Early Settlers Circle, bought the remaining seven lots surrounding Treaty Oak. She gave the land to the City for use only as a public park, preventing construction of future building or other development.
Originally called Treaty Oak Park, this site was renamed Jessie 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.