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The Old Oak, is over 100 feet tall and may be 300 years old. It has been a resident of the campus since before the University's founding. The oldest building on campus, Old College, sits adjacent to it and the annual Old Oak Festival draws upon the tree for its inspiration.


  • View of Old College and Old Oak.
  • Lantern Festival, 1950s-1970s.
  • Old Oak Festival.
  • Old Oak Festival.
  • Old Oak Festival, circa 1970s.

Old Oak is an imposing feature on campus and place where students gather for recreation and sometimes class.

The Lantern Festival traditionally took place on the night before Commencement. Seniors wore academic regalia and carried lanterns in a procession to an outdoor stage next to the Old Oak tree. They placed the lanterns in a T-shape on the tree before reminiscing about their experience at Tusculum,and then passing their robes on to the juniors. The festival was held beneath Old Oak from 1950s to the 1970s, but has since been moved indoors.2

The Old Oak Festival is a celebration of the University and the local area. Local musicians, crafters, and vendors come to the festival to present their skills and their wares. It began in 1975 as a part of the Folk Revival of the 1970’s and ended in 1992. It was revived in 2011 and continues to be a successful festival with lots of community interest and visitors.

The tree is believed to be between 250 and 300 years old. It measures over 100 feet tall and boasts a circumference at the trunk of 23 feet and a spread in the canopy of 110 feet. I

Old Oak is listed as a landmark tree by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.1


1. Boyd, Dollie. Old Oak of Tusculum College #19. Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. January 17, 2018. Accessed April 01, 2019. https://www.tufc.com/project/old-oak-of-tusculum-college/.

2. Sexton, Jr., Donal J.. Smith, Jr., Myron J.. Glimpses of Tusculum. Marceline, Mo.. Walworth Publishing Co., 1994.

3. Tusculum University Archives.