Texans plant trees for getting some desperately needed August shade, for climbing, and for making beautiful landmarks for locals. To be sure, there are certain types of trees that are considered “less peaceful “ throughout Texas history. However, we can celebrate the oldest trees in Texas with a clear conscience and we can be proud of them!
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In this article, we will be talking about famous trees of Texas, what they are known for, and where you can find them to enjoy their beauty. Keep reading to find out more!
Oldest Trees in Texas – Famous Trees to Visit
Currently, there are about 65 trees still alive that was recognized as the most famous Texas trees in the past 40 years. The historical significance, beauty, and sentimental value of these trees are what make them famous.
1. San Saba County, Matrimonial Oak
Matrimonial oak is a shady, sturdy live oak sitting on the shoulder of a country road. An interesting thing about it is that it creates a “natural tunnel”. Newly arrived residents and Native Americans all found this tree to be somehow linked to weddings. People were either having the ceremony in the shade of this tree, or they were getting on a knee under its branches to present an engagement ring. The Matrimonial oak is one of the oldest trees in Texas that you definitely don’t want to miss!
2. San Antonio, Ben Milam Cypress
There is a clear clash between old and new Texas when it comes to the Ben Milam cypress; the tree is bang-up against a parking garage even though it’s seen plenty of history. The tree is located at the intersection of the Riverwalk in the Alamo City and the San Antonio River. The legends says that a Mexican sniper climbed this tree and took out Ben Milam in December 1835. There is proof that the tree was among favorite spots for snipers in the 19th century, and cypress is still one of the best trees to plant in San Antonio.
3. Texas A&M Campus, Century Tree
Century tree is a tree in Aggieland that definitely needs to be honored. The tradition at Texas A&M University goes like this: walk under the Century Tree with your lover and you will stay together forever. Many people seek every chance to visit this immense live oak. The tree has large dropping branches that rest on the ground. They provide an ample opportunity for young co-eds to linger with hope for a better future. Century Tree is one of the most famous trees of Texas and you shouldn’t miss your chance to visit it when you can!
4. The City of Goliad, The Cart War Oak
The Cart war was a series of violent incidents between Mexican and Texan teamsters who were moving merchandise on carts to San Antonio in the 19th century. The Texans were thinking that the Mexicans are undercutting them by offering too-low prices, and this lead to conflict and violence.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t all. Historians believe that underlying causes of the event were racial and ethnic hostilities towards Mexican Texans. This giant live oak was the site of the court sessions. Early courts were passing capital sentences and the huge horizontal limbs served as ready-made gallows for them. The tree now represents a spot of shade in which residents and visitors can reminisce and rest with friends.
5. Aransas County, Goose Island Oak
Located on the Texas gulf coast, Goose Island Oak is one of the largest and oldest trees in Texas. The legend says that this is where the Karankawas held pagan ceremonies and councils. This giant live oak is also known as the “Bishop’s Tree” since there was a Bishop’s chapel nearby, in Lamar, the abandoned townsite.
The age of this tree has never been accurately determined, but it is believed that it’s about 1,100 years old. In 1966, this live oak was measured 44 feet in height, 89 feet wide, and 421 inches in circumference. Goose Island Oak is considered one of the most famous trees of Texas, and you definitely want to visit it, especially with your kids because it is a great spot for climbing!
6. Lee County, Old Evergreen Tree
Old Evergreen Tree is located about 8 miles north of Giddings, on the east side of Farm Road 1624. This large live oak marks the site and due to the number of events and legends which occurred near it, this is a location worth visiting at least once in a while. It is not very hard to find it since it is located by the FM 1624 which was laid to connect Austin and Houston.
The Evergreen Tree is all that remains of the first white settlement in Lee County. A number of schools, well-stocked stores, and inns were located near the tree during the 19th century. Also, tree services Texas say that some burial grounds were found a few hundred yards west of the tree.
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7. Goliad, Baptist Oak
Twelve early settlers of Goliad organized the first Baptist church west of the Guadalupe River under the spreading branches of this giant live oak in 1849. The Reverend John Freeman Hillyer arrived from Galveston in 1847. He was also a physician and an educator in addition to his pastoral duties. With the help of local Baptists, he established a college for women in Goliad, right under this beautiful live oak.
The tree creates a beautiful tunnel over a road with its branches. Still, you have to be careful when passing by it in a car since there’s another tree located in the middle of the road. It is recommended to stop by and visit the tree on your foot.
8. Refugio, Urrea Oaks
Urrea Oaks are a group of trees located a mile southwest of Our Lady of Refuge Church in Refugio, in the middle of the US Highway 77. They are named after a Mexican general, and the trees commemorate an unfortunate and ugly incident between Mexicans and Texans. The event made this tree one of the most famous trees of Texas today.
Urea was leading troops to Refugio in 1836. Refugio was still mostly abandoned, only those who couldn’t escape the Texan army in Goliad were left there. About 30 Texans got within three miles of Goliad before being captured. Unfortunately, they were lined up and executed under Urrea’s orders. A week later, roughly about 100 more Texans met the same fate after the general captured them in the area.
9. Austin, Treaty Oak
Treaty Oak was inducted into the Hall of Fame and was named the most perfect specime of a North American tree. Unfortunately, the tree was poisoned in 1989 and it lost its fame and fortune. The tree was poisoned by a male who thought he could help his love life by poisoning this specific tree. Treaty Oak still survives to this day, even though its death warrant was written countless times. The best tree experts and doctors from the nation were brought up to Austin to help save this beautiful Austin shade tree.
10. Stephens County, Half-Way Oak
It is widely believed that Half-Way Oak may have sheltered Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and that’s the tree’s historical significance. In addition, it is located halfway between two booming cities in Texas – Cisco and Breckenridge. The tree sits in the middle of the highway since the citizens protested its removal in order to widen the U.S. Highway 183.
The tree always offered a great spot for families to stop by when they’re on a road trip. Fidgety kids can work off their excess energy, and parents can rest by some picnic tables and enjoy beautiful views of this tree.
Q: Where is the largest tree in Texas?
A: The largest known tree in Texas currently is located in Brazoria County. Up until 2003, the largest tree in Texas was located near the town of Rockport. Its name is the “Big Tree” and is one of the most famous live oaks anywhere in the world. In 1969, the tree was named “Texas State Champion Virginia Live Oak”.
Q: How old is the oldest oak tree in Texas?
A: Some recent studies estimate that the oldest oak tree in Texas is about 2,000 years old. However, it is believed that the oldest tree is about 1,000-1,100 years old officially by the Texas Forest Service. The “Big Tree” is believed to be the oldest oak in the area, but we are still unsure exactly how old the tree is.
Local Tree Experts Overview
Hopefully, this article will help you better understand some of the oldest trees in Texas. Trees on this list have historical and sentimental value to residents, but they also have a stunning appearance which is why you definitely want to visit them. Some of these trees were in danger of dying during recent years, but they were saved by the experts and doctors.
When you plan your next trip, refer to this article to check whether you will be passing by some of these trees. Make sure you stop by these trees to enjoy the moment and have some rest.