A prominent landmark makes its way back to Summerville campus

The new Arsenal Oak stands tall and enjoys some shade as it continues to thrive on the lawn of the Benet house on the Summerville campus. (Photo: Alexandria Bennett)
The new Arsenal Oak stands tall and enjoys some shade as it continues to thrive on the lawn of the Benet house on the Summerville campus. (Photo: Alexandria Bennett)

By Alexandria Bennett | Staff Writer

In 2004, a landmark on the grounds of then Augusta College was removed when it was struck with disease. Now in 2016, the Arsenal Oak has made its way back to the Summerville campus of Augusta University and is better than before.

The new Arsenal Oak is located on the front lawn of the Benet house and stands about 30 feet tall. The tree, grown from an acorn, carries a huge legacy as it is a descendant of the original arsenal oak.

The original oak was estimated to be over 250 years old. It was a prominent symbol to not only the Summerville campus of Augusta University, but to the community of Augusta as well.

The Student Government Association will host a dedication ceremony on Arbor Day, April 29, at the Benet House in honor of the new Arsenal Oak being back on campus. The ceremony will entail information pertaining to the history of the tree, the importance of legacy and tradition and what can be done to ensure the tree continues to thrive.

Deb Barshafsky, strategist for the Augusta University Heritage Project, was sad to see the tree go and is now ecstatic that it is back on campus. She gives all thanks to students at Augusta University as it was their idea to get the tree back on the campus.

“I can’t stress enough how this all was a student initiated project,” Barshafsky said. “They knew the tree meant so much to so many people and they were looking to connect current and future students to past students.”

The tree transplanted on campus is about 20 years old and was donated by Rob Pavey, journalist and friend of Augusta University. Pavey purchased the saplings back in the 90s and was more than honored to donate one to Augusta University.

Transplanting a tree that is 20 years old was not an easy task. Pavey wishes the tree well and said he believes it will be taken great care of at its new home on the Summerville campus of Augusta University.

“I hope people who remember the old one can appreciate the new one,” Pavey said. “For people who may be too young to remember the old one, I hope they can learn more about the history of the school from seeing the new one.”

The spring of 2016 is set to go down in history on the Summerville campus of Augusta University now that the Arsenal Oak is back. The appreciation of the university’s history and heritage will only increase as the legacy of the oak continues to live on.

Contact Alexandria Bennett at: abenne19@augusta.edu

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