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Replica of Owens oak planted at Rhodes

A sapling propagated from an oak tree given to Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics was planted Oct. 12 behind the Rhodes High School Campus building in the same area where the original, now at the end of its life span, took root.

Owens, a track and field star who graduated from East Tech but trained at Rhodes, received an English Oak for each of the four medals he won at those Olympics. His victories delivered a stunning rebuke to Adolf Hitler’s doctrine of Aryan supremacy.

The oak behind Rhodes was the last known survivor of the four presented to Owens. The others were planted at East Tech, a home Owens purchased for his parents and The Ohio State University, where he attended college.

The remains of the original Rhodes oak stand a few feet away from the sapling, but the tree, which had been nurtured for years by CMSD and horticultural experts, is now barren.  

Holden Forests & Gardens and Klyn Nurseries grew saplings propagated from the oak at Rhodes. Another sapling was planted in University Circle last year near the Rockefeller Park lagoon.

About a dozen more replicas await homes, with East Tech and historic League Park suggested as destinations.