Friendship Oak Tree
Friendship Oak Tree has one of the sweetest southern legacies of any historical landmark. It is said that anyone who visits the tree will remain friends throughout their lifetimes. Located on the front lawn of the University of Southern Mississippi, in Long Beach, MS, this grand oak tree has seen a lot in its 500 + years of life. It has survived devastating storms and has provided shade for innumerable people and animals alike.
It is incredible to fathom that Friendship Oak predates the arrival of Christopher Columbus; it was a sapling at the time of the discovery of the New World. Dating back to 1487, the tree bore acorns when Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida and was 100 years old by the time the first Anglo-American child was born at Roanoke Island.
Friendship Oak has witnessed the evolution of the Mississippi Gulf Coast since the discovery of the New World.
The University of Southern Mississippi, formerly known as the Gulf Park College for Women, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The tree is rooted in front, welcoming visitors from wherever they roam. In the early 1920’s , renowned poet, Vachel Lindsay, visited Mississippi for a recital at Gulf Park College for Women; he stayed in Gulf Park and taught contemporary poetry from 1923 to 1924.
Friendship Oak tree was featured in Life magazine in the 1950’s and was the 110th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society. It has sustained hurricane winds and massive storm surges, yet flourishes still today. It is one of the most photographed subjects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast., and that’s no wonder considering its staggering statistics. Using noninvasive means, service foresters have reported Friendship Oak’s current measurements as follows. The trunk diameter is 5’9” with a height of 59 feet. The circumference of the trunk is 19’9.5” and the spread of the foliage is 155 feet. The average length of the main limbs from the trunk is about 60-66 feet and the average circumference of the limbs at the trunk is 7.5 feet. Almost 16,000 feet of shelter can be found beneath the branches of Friendship Oak. These measurements were last reported by the Mississippi Forestry Commission, August 22nd, 2011.
A remarkable sight, anyone who gazes upon its magnificence keeps a fond memory of Friendship Oak. Whether it be studying beneath its branches, climbing its limbs, sharing friendship in the shade, or even wedding ceremonies on the platform within its branches, it is impossible to forget the beauty and elegance of this ancient part of the natural world.