Jessie Ball duPont Park, home of the Treaty Oak, is located in the Southbank area. An amusement complex known as Dixieland Park, which included most of the site, opened in 1907.
In the 1930’s, the Garden Club, Mrs. Jessie duPont, and a Times Union reporter, Pat Moran, began efforts to preserve the tree. Moran coined the name Treaty Oak while writing a fictitious story about how white settlers and Indians met under the tree to sign peace treaties.
Mrs. duPont and the Alfred I. duPont Foundation purchased the land containing the tree around 1934 and donated it to the City in 1964. The City acquired the remainder of the property between 1964 and 1971, the year the park was named in honor of Jessie duPont (1884-1970), an ardent philanthropist and part-time Jacksonville resident. Through the efforts of the City and private groups and individuals, a major project was completed in 1995 to preserve the tree and enhance the park. Currently there are plans to enhance the park and protect the tree.
While Treaty Oak is a unique greenspace, it is severely underutilized because of a lack of connectivity with the surrounding land uses.
Jessie Ball DuPont Park (Treaty Oak Park) is located at 1123 Prudential Drive, just east of the Southbank's Main Street viaduct.
Written by Ennis Davis