The Tree Spirits of SSI are the, weathered, hand carved faces hidden in the majestic live oaks scattered around South and mid SSI. They were commissioned to to be lovingly created and carved by sculptor Keith Jennings to commemorate the sailors who were lost at sea on the mighty sailing ships made from St Simons massive Southern Live Oaks. As you tour the island, look for them in several diverse places. Hints...
Demere Road at Skylane Drive
Demere Road at the North end of the airport
Mallory Street next to Murphy's Tavern
Redfern Village (in front of wine and cheese shop)
3305 Frederica Road + other undisclosed locations
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Note: Some of the old tars are beginning to disappear back into the trees as the pruned limbs begin to heal over. Thus, this is treasure hunt that won't last forever.
**The USS Constitution "Old Iron sides, one of the mighty sailing ships of our countries heroic history, was made from these massive Southern Live Oaks in 1797 and is the oldest commissioned US Naval vessel still afloat.
The Southern Live Oak is the official State Tree of Georgia. These tough, ancient, magnificent trees that grace us with their moss draped presence are a large part of what I love about my island home.
found the live oak's hardwood ideal for shipbuilding. Because of the trees' short height and low hanging branches, lumber from live oak was specifically used to make curved structures of the hull. The line of the grain
would fall perpendicularly to lines of stress creating structures of exceptional strength.
The U.S. Navy even procured large holdings of live oak forests for the exclusive use of government shipyards. The U.S.S. Constitution reportedly was nicknamed "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812 as it's live oak hull was so tough cannon balls would bounced off of it. When the ship was restored in the 1990's live oak was once again the wood of choice.
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