Clio Logo

The May Oak was the central backdrop for a longtime Tallahassee festival known as May Day. The live oak, now a stump in Lewis Park, in downtown, Tallahassee, was where a court of Leon County High School students would congregate after a King and Queen were chosen and coronated. The tradition began in the 1800s and continued until the 1970s. May Day was discontinued after Leon High School was integrated. The tree later collapsed from age. Springtime Tallahassee succeeded the festival after the oak fell. A plaque at the stump reads: TALLAHASSEE'S MAY OAK LEWIS PARK The Tallahassee May Day Festival, one of the oldest annual celebrations in Florida, was held under the stately May Oak from 1844 to 1974. The historic landmark collapsed on August 9, 1986.


  • Scene from the 1967 Tallahassee May Party under the historic May Oak in Lewis Park.
<https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/46780>
  • May Oak, Tallahassee, FL
<https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/162193>
  • May queen Mae Gywnn and her escort Jimmy Thurman 
<https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/9920>
May Oak -- Tallahassee. Waymarking.com. June 21, 2011. Accessed April 07, 2018. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMBV38_May_Oak_Tallahassee_FL.

Tallahassee Civil Rights Oral History Collection, Special Collections & Archives, FSU Libraries, Tallahassee, FL