The Big Oak Tree

The Big Oak Tree (Quercus virginiana)

Perhaps the most enduring landmark in Thomasville, Georgia, is “The Big Oak” tree that is located just off U.S. Route 319 at the corner of Monroe and Crawford Streets. This towering, sprawling behemoth of vegetation dominates the residential neighborhoods and has been visited and admired in wonderment by a procession of US Presidents, European Royalty, dramatic actors, actresses and purveyors of immensely wealthy American families and icons. A steady stream of admirers daily view this colossus of botanical incredibility that is an original member of the National Live Oak Society Register and is certified as being the largest Live Oak tree growing East of the Mississippi River.

A tourist or visitor to the Big Oak can pose for a free photo that is triggered by calling a displayed number on your cell phone that is relayed to an elevated camera located on a light pole across the street that will post your on-site photo on the Internet website that you can print out to memorialize your visit.

Thomasville, Georgia is located in deep Southern Georgia that is only 20 miles north of Florida. Thomasville, Georgia, a city of genteel inhabitants, giant magnolia and oak trees and glamorous Plantations, a place that Academy Award winner and famous dramatic actress, Joanne Woodward, was born who became the wife of Paul Newman, the academy award winning actor.

Thomasville, Georgia was the terminus of railroad travel during the late 1800's, and the climate, Plantations, magnificent Hotels and hunting opportunities attracted northern wealthy visitors to relax and to vacation year round.

William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, visited his friend, Marcus (Mark) Hanna, who was an heir to the Standard Oil fortune, owner of Melrose Plantation a 70,000 acre estate. President McKinley was born in Ohio and knew well Mark Hanna's family of Cleveland, Ohio. President McKinley was accompanied on his train journey from Washington D.C., to Thomasville, Ga., by his wife, Ida McKinley, their son and the 24th Vice President of the United States, Garrett Hobart and his wife Ms. Hobart and son, along with other members of the McKinley entourage. While in Thomasville in 1896, the “ McKinley Oak Tree”, was planted to honor the President.

The Thirty Fourth President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie Eisenhower, enjoyed visiting the Greenwood Plantation in Thomasville, Ga., an estate of 5200 acres, and he also hunted quail often at the Milestone Plantation. Every year for 8 straight years, President Eisenhower hunted quail and other wildlife animals at Thomasville Plantations in the 1950's. President Eisenhower along with the the Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S. , George Humphrey, in March of 1956, returned with his entourage to the Greenwood Plantation to hunt quail as guests of John Hay Whitney, the owner, who had been appointed Ambassador to Great Britain by IKE. President Eisenhower also played golf at the local Glen Arven Golf Course, his favorite Golfing location. President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the Big Oak at Thomasville, GA many times and stated that this was his favorite tree in the world, and an oak tree named the Eisenhower Oak was planted was also as a memorial of his visit to Sea Island, GA.

Ms. Jacqueline Kennedy, the first lady and wife of John F. Kennedy, spent a week in seclusion and mourning at the Greenwood Plantation in Thomasville, Ga., owned by John Hay Whitney. after the 35th president of the United States was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963.

English Royalty also visited the elegant Plantations in Thomasville. The Duke and Dutchess of Windsor often spent extended visits at the Foshalee Plantation and the Horseshoe Plantation, where they could relax and vacation in privacy and elegance. Most recently the 46th vice president, Richard (Dick) Cheney, visited and hunted quail at Thomasville , GA., Plantations on November 29th 2006, and afterwards he did Christmas shopping at the charming downtown stores of Thomasville. GA.

President Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, enjoyed the grandeur and visits to the Plantations of Thomasville, but the secrets of the exact locations were never revealed because of security problems.

You are invited to visit the Big Oak Tree and tour the Plantations and visit the many antique stores and restaurants in downtown Thomasville, GA., for an invigorating and exciting experience that will delight your family and friends.