Less Traveled

Page Ivey

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Check out Charleston's most historic site

Posted 8/10/2012 8:11:00 AM

What historic site in South Carolina

*is estimated to be 1,500 years old?
* is 65 feet tall?
* is 25 feet around?
* casts a shadow over 17,000 square feet of land?

Well, I think that last one gives it away.

The Angel Oak in Charleston is named not for its otherworldly appearance, but for Martha and Justin Angel, the folks who owned the land where it is located on Johns Island.

It is one of those surreal locations in South Carolina where you feel like you’ve gone back in time, in this case, back to a time when most folks lived a tribal life.

It’s hard to imagine this colossus was ever an acorn. Standing 65 feet tall (about the same as a six-story building) and 25 feet around, the Angel Oak has survived innumerable hurricanes, including 1989s Hurricane Hugo, which left scars on the tree, and at least one major earthquake.

The branches seem to want to hug you as you walk under their expanse. The leaves rustling in the breeze provide a natural light show on the ground and cast ever-changing shadows. Some branches are so large they rest on the ground and have taken root there before sprouting anew.

This treasure is now owned by the city of Charleston and a gift shop on the property offers visitors the chance to help protect the oak from encroaching development.

The Angel Oak is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be found at 3688 Angel Oak Road, Johns Island. It’s free to visit, but donations are appreciated.