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The Candler Oak

During its lifetime, the Candler Oak has been a silent witness to the many changes in the area. In 1791, the Georgia State Legislature granted five acres of land surrounding the mighty oak to be used for a seamanís hospital. The hospital was constructed in 1803 and was in use until 1818. In 1819, a new structure, The Savannah Poor House and Hospital, was built on the land and was in use until 1854 when it was converted to serve as the headquarters for the Medical College of Georgia. During the Civil War, the hospital was used by the Confederacy until it was captured by General Sherman. Sherman used the hospital to treat his own soldiers and constructed a barricade around the tree to house wounded Confederate prisoners. In 1930, the site was returned to service as the Warren A. Candler Hospital which operated until 1980. Huntingdon II, Ltd. purchased the building where community health care organizations continued to operate until 2000.

After years of stress, the Candler Oak was in serious decline with a life expectancy of less than 20 years. In 1982, the first preservation project of Savannah Tree Foundation (STF) was to save this historic tree. The group made history by securing the first conservation easement on a single tree in the nation. This 6,804 sq. ft. easement was established in 1984 to protect the Candler Oak from loss to development. Huntingdon II, Ltd. donated the easement to the STF so that the tree could receive proper care in order to arrest its declining health. In 1985 the asphalt was removed from the root area to revive the tree and a comprehensive schedule of maintenance, including soil tests, has been faithfully followed. The tree is watered, mulched and fertilized as needed. Under the watchful eye of the Savannah Tree Foundation, the tree has rebounded and could continue to grace our city well into this century.

In 2001 the Candler Oak was designated a Georgia Landmark and Historic Tree by the Georgia Urban Forest Council. In 2004 the tree was nominated to the National Register of Historic Trees by American Forests