Friday, July 17, 2009

The Famous Chapman Oak

Recently my dad told me of how Bluffton University's Rosenberger Drive was re-routed to save a rare white oak tree. The original design had the road going straight through from between Founders Hall and Lincoln Hall to Elm Street, but Ollie Diller, the board chairman and a tree expert, insisted the road be re-routed to save this tree. Dad said the architect of the road couldn't understand why a road would be rerouted to save a tree, but the design was changed and the tree saved.

When my sister Louise was here in June she and I went out to try to find this tree. All we knew was that there was a jog in Rosenberger Drive where the tree was situated, so we looked at the jogs but we found nothing. I believe the three of us also went out one day with no luck. Then one day Dad announced he had found it, and the three of us went out to look at it. It turns out the tree is much closer to Founder's Hall than where Louise and I had been looking. The "jog" in question is right after the road starts between Founders and Lincoln. The tree is right at the corner of the tennis courts located behind Lincoln Hall. Anyway, there were no leaves low enough to be picked, and it appeared that a stepladder was needed to get a leaf.

Today Dad stopped by and we went to look at the tree, stopping at the house to get a stepladder. I carried it over to the tree and got a leaf. Back home, I have checked everything I can and I am 99% certain that it is a Chapman Oak. Based solely on the shape of the leaf, I would be only 80-90% sure. But one source mentioned the leaves were "leathery", which fits this leaf perfectly, so based on that I feel 99% sure it is a Chapman Oak.

A maintenance man who happened to be passing by ventured the opinion that it was a "Pensacola oak". A google search of this revealed nothing, but I see now that the habitat is Florida/Georgia, so it is possible that "Pensacola oak" is a nickname based on the natural habitat of this tree.

No comments: