The Angel Oak of Johns Island
Massive and amazing, the tree is surrounded by signs that read,"Do Not Move This Sign." I realized if you want a picture of the tree, from any angle or distance, without a sign in it, you have to buy it from the gift shop. They have oil paintings,framed photos, even coffee mugs, with the tree sans signs. As annoying as this is, I imagine they use the money to help preserve Angel Oak. And we need to support our artists.
I tried to learn about the tree, but not all sources agree on her real estate status. They all agree the tree has a circumference of 25 feet and a height of 65 feet. One source says it has a spread of 160 feet. A second source says it covers 17,100 square feet of ground. Another says it produces 17,000 square feet of shade; still another says the canopy is 2,000 square yards. I think we can all agree this is a large tree.
Two sources state the tree is 400 years old. Three sources say the tree is 1400 years old and yet another says it is "at least 1500 years old." One says it's the oldest thing, living or man-made, east of the Rockies. Another source says it's one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River. Can we agree this tree is ancient?
I thought perhaps it was named Angel Oak because of its endurance in faith. It has lived through numerous hurricanes, earthquakes and floods as well as human interference. Severely damaged by infamous Hurricane Hugo, the tree healed, recovered and continues to live and breathe and grow stronger amidst adversity. But, it's actually the name of Martha and Justis Angel, the original owners of the land on which the tree grows. It now belongs to the State of South Carolina and is under the state's stewardship.
I was awed to stand beneath Angel Oak, walk around it and through it. Like a visit to the Giant Sequoia in California, it's a humbling and never-to-be-forgotten experience.