SAVANNAH-CHATHAM COUNTY HISTORIC SITE AND MONUMENT COMMISSION HISTORICAL MARKER RECOMMENDATION

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1 SAVANNAH-CHATHAM COUNTY HISTORIC SITE AND MONUMENT COMMISSION HISTORICAL MARKER RECOMMENDATION PETITIONER: FILE No.: LOCATION: Karen Jenkins Savannah Tree Foundation 3025 Bull Street Savannah, GA DATE: NATURE OF REQUEST: The petitioner is requesting approval to erect a historical marker at commemorating the Candler Oak. FINDINGS: Theme: The petitioner has provided the following statement regarding theme. Civic and Institutional The preservation of the Candler Oak represents the strong civic-mindedness of the citizens of Savannah. Over time the Candler Oak has served as a symbol for many of Savannah's institutions including Candler Hospital. The civic responsibility demonstrated in saving a landmark of such importance further demonstrates the pride in community of Savannah's local citizens. The Candler Oak shares its history with the land and buildings surrounding it. The selection of that lot for the Savannah Poor House and Hospital was tied to an appreciation for the beautiful wooded lands. The history of the hospital corresponds to the history of the tree from the development of the colony and provision for public services, the epidemics that shaped Savannah, Civil War involvement, and civil rights. In memorializing the tree we are paying homage to the history of that area of town and the institutions represented as well. Environmental The Candler Oak has long served as a symbol of Savannah's long-running dedication to the preservation of the natural environment and the importance of trees in particular. As one of the area's most famous live oak trees it represents the ecology of coastal Georgia. Having been designated with the first conservation easement in the United States on a single tree, the Candler Oak has gained a national reputation for representing the importance of caring for our natural resources. The easement

2 Page 2 also represents Savannah's focus on cooperation between commercial development and environmental protection. The following theme standards from the Master Plan and Guidelines for Markers, Monuments, and Works of Art apply: The proposed theme should have documented significant, clear and direct local relevance to the history and development of Chatham County. The local focus should be the predominant theme of the monument. The level of significance should be high enough to warrant a public presence. The person, place or event commemorated should not have been sufficiently commemorated elsewhere in the County. The theme should be distinct and original, and not be duplicated in other existing markers or monuments. The theme should reflect a larger connection to the community as a whole, and not only to one distinct group. There should be significant documented evidence (written or oral) of the commemorated event, person, or place. The standards are met. Location: The marker is proposed on private property at. There is an existing marker commemorating the Candler Oak which will be removed when this marker is installed. The new marker will be closer to the existing fence along Drayton Street so as to be more visible. The following location standards apply: A marker commemorating a place, such as a significant piece of architecture, should be located within 100 feet of the place or adjacent to the nearest public right-of-way. The installation of an object should not cause overcrowding of the site, if there are existing objects. Objects should be sited far enough away from other objects as to allow the visitor proper appreciation of each individually. The proposed object should not damage or disturb existing established vegetation on the site including low tree limbs, or significant tree roots. The proposed object should not require the removal or alteration of existing above or below ground utilities.

3 Page 3 The proposed site should be large enough to accommodate an object, and should not encroach on other existing object sites, buildings, or designated green space. The proposed site should not be utilized for special events (such as sports, festivals, ceremonies, etc.) on a regular basis which an object would disrupt. The proposed site should not be prone to frequent automobile accidents which could damage the proposed object. The proposed site should be visible and accessible from a public right of way. The proposed site should not have a high probability of significant archaeology unless an archaeological study is part of the proposal. The proposed site should be easy to maintain. The installation of the object should enhance the space and character of the surrounding neighborhood. The installation of the object should not require the alteration or removal of existing signage (traffic, street, etc.). The installation of the object should not significantly affect automobile traffic sight lines. The installation of the object should enhance the design of the overall site. The installation of the object should not require the removal or alteration of existing sidewalks, unless it is part of a comprehensive redesign for the entire site (which is generally discouraged). If periodic memorial services are likely, the site should be able to accommodate them without causing undue disruption to the neighborhood, plantings, etc. The standards are met. Design: The proposed marker will be rectangular and 36" tall x 48" wide. The proposed material is ½ thick high pressure laminate. The marker will be mounted on two poles. The petitioner has stated that the marker has an approximately lifespan of 20 years and Savannah Tree Foundation will be responsible for its replacement in 20 years. Staff has requested additional information on the marker including: the height of the top edge of the marker, the material of the posts, how the marker fasten to the poles, will the

4 Page 4 marker face be tilted back at an angle, how big will the posts be, manufacturer of the face and whether they have a 20 year guarantee on their product. The following design standards apply: Markers may be mounted on a freestanding pole, wall-mounted, or embedded in the ground. As the primary purpose is to inform the public about an event, place or person, the aesthetic significance of a marker is generally minimal. Except the marker title, the marker text should be not more than 1 in height, and not less than 1/2. Marker text should be created in a manner that, to the extent possible, prevents fading and erosion. Markers should be made of an enduring, non-corroding material. Markers should be considered permanent and designed accordingly. Temporary markers may be considered provided they serve an educational function, are made of a material designed to last for the proposed life of the marker, and a plan for removal or replacement of the marker at the end of the temporary period is submitted. The installation of a marker on building should not damage the historic fabric of the building. It is not known at this time if the standards are met, pending additional information regarding the lifespan of the marker material. Text: The proposed font will be Chronicle Text. The title will be one inch height, while the text will be half an inch tall. The proposed text will read: The Candler Oak, Live Oak, Quercus virginiania The Candler Oak is one of the oldest living landmarks in the area with a history that parallels the establishment of Savannah. This live oak is estimated to have taken root in the early 1700s. The surrounding land was home to hospitals from 1819 to 1980, beginning with the Savannah Poor House and Hospital. The grounds have housed orchards, cattle, and prisoners of war.

5 Page 5 Known as Camp Davidson during the Civil War, Confederate troops built stockades under the oak to house Union officers held as prisoners of war. In 1865, General Sherman captured the hospital. In 1930, the hospital operated under the Methodist Hospital Board as the Warren A. Candler Hospital, located here until Huntingdon II, Ltd. purchased the building and donated the Candler Oak's easement to the Savannah Tree Foundation so the tree could receive proper care to arrest its declining health. In 1985, asphalt was removed from the root area, and a comprehensive maintenance schedule has been followed. Under the watchful eye of the Savannah Tree Foundation and the patronage of St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital, the tree has rebounded and will continue to grace the city well into the 21st century. In 2012, Savannah Law School began restoration of the historic structure. Parking spaces in the adjacent lot were reserved for the tree's lowest branches. After years of stress, the Candler Oak was in serious decline with a life expectancy of less than 20 years. In 1982, concerned citizens formed the Savannah Tree Foundation to protect and preserve Savannah's urban forest. The group made history by securing the first conservation easement on a single tree in the nation. The Candler Oak was protected from loss to development by the 6,804 square foot easement established in Time line Early 1700s The tree that will become known as the Candler Oak takes root 1733 James Oglethorpe lands in Savannah and lays out the city plan to include an open commons south of the town 1819 Savannah Poor House and Hospital built on this land valued for its woodlands 1863 Confederate troops use the hospital and billet prisoners of war under the tree 1864 Union troops take possession of the hospital 1930 Hospital becomes Warren A. Candler Hospital 1984 Savannah Tree Foundation secures the first conservation easement in the nation on a single tree for the Candler Oak 2001 Designated a Georgia Landmark and Historic Tree by Georgia Urban Forestry Council 2004 Named to National Register of Historic Trees 2012 Savannah Law School purchases the property and begins restoration of the historic buildings 2013 Tree Dimensions (measurements will be taken before fabrication of the sign)

6 Page 6 The following text standards apply: Text should be well-researched and based on historically accurate, documented facts. The text should accurately and effectively convey to the reader the desired message. Text should avoid offensive, obscene, or inflammatory language. Donor names may be included provided the names are in an identical but smaller font than the rest of the text and that no slogans or corporate logos are included. Staff recommends revising the text to include a paragraph space before In 1930 Additionally staff recommends revising the italicized text and include in the main body of the text. Funding: Estimated Costs Graphic Design $ 300 Fabrication $2,018 Installation $ 500 Removal of Existing Sign $ 100 Future Removal of Sign $ 100. The Candler Oak marker is being paid for in full by Savannah Tree Foundation. 100% of funds have been secured and designated for this purpose. The funding requirement is met. No escrow payment is required because this is on private property. RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval with the following conditions: 1. Provide the following information at the HSMC meeting on September 5 th or provide to staff afterwards if not known by then: the height of the top edge of the marker, the material of the posts, how the marker fasten to the poles, will the marker face be tilted back at an angle, how big will the posts be, manufacturer of the face and whether they have a 20 year guarantee on their product. 2. Revise the text to include a paragraph space before In 1930 Revise the italicized text and include in the main body of the text. Submit to staff for final approval.

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