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Trees are living testimony of the history they carry in them. They unite us with past communities and historic events and help us establish a common thread between the past and present. The Texas Historic Tree Coalition hopes to carry this living thread into the future.

As tree specialists and expert tree movers, we appreciate the unique value of trees, especially older ones. We have worked with municipalities, universities, and cities to move large specimen trees across long distances.

It is a humbling experience to move a tree that has been around for centuries. Important historical figures once sat under its shade and communities gathered here. It is particularly moving to see how our work helps such trees survive and outlast even the most optimistic expectations.

Like us, the Texas Historic Tree Coalition believes in the historic and communal significance of trees. Their scope is to document older trees whose importance extends beyond their environmental value. By recording how such trees have shaped our Texas history, the Texas Historic Tree Coalition wants to ensure these trees will be here for future generations.

The Texas Historic Tree Coalition

The Texas Historic Tree Coalition (TXHTC) started in Dallas in 1996 with the goal of preserving historic and heritage trees. Once an increasing number of people displayed their interest in documenting and displaying the importance of old trees, the Coalition decided to include the whole of Texas.

The Coalition values how communities and people gathered under trees and how trees became witnesses of historic events. Contracts were signed under trees, schools were built next to trees, and people were brought together by trees. Through the history of old trees, the Texas Historic Tree Coalition is preserving the history that made America.

What Makes a Tree Significant?

Tree arborists, historians, environmentalists, archaeologists, and other professionals who are passionate about the significance of trees work on a voluntary basis for the TXHTC. Together, they research history and documents to establish how a tree became a focal point for people, communities, and events.

A tree is significant to the TXHTC when it is over 50 years old and carries some importance. There are no set rules as to the significance the tree displays. It can be a tree that has been shading a courthouse for the past 100 years or a group of trees that provided shade to the first group of girls who went to school in that area.

When a tree is submitted as a heritage tree worth documenting and preserving, the Coalition asks for documents and historic references to back the innate value of the tree.

Once the tree has been deemed to carry significance for the community and the history of the United States, the TXHTC makes sure the tree is properly identified, places a plaque explaining its importance, and makes efforts to ensure its survival and well-being.

What Types of Trees Does the Texas Historic Tree Coalition Identify as Valuable?

Historic Trees and Heritage Trees

Historic trees are trees over 50 years old that have a historic or communal significance to the locality, city, or Texas as a whole.

Historic trees define the landscape but are also landmarks of the past. Even small events can be highlighted by a tree that survives long after the event. Such trees serve as silent reminders of how the world was 50 or 100 years ago.

There is, for example, the Quadricentennial Bur Oak, which is more than 400 years old and rises over 90 feet high. It was there when early settlers explored the area.

The Bur Oak at Big Spring in Dallas County is estimated to be 235 years old and has been providing shade and comfort to many generations. At one point, this historic tree was part of a dairy farm.

The Wagon Yard Elm in North Dallas was part of a farming community for decades and generously offered its shade to passersby and people attending church.

Heritage trees carry relevance to a community and enhance a locality. Heritage trees grew with generations of people and became part of their lives. They stood beside churches and offered the local community welcome shade and a space to socialize.

Heritage trees make every county in Texas unique and special and are worth preserving and loving.

Indian Marker Trees

Indian marker trees were features of American Indian culture. Native American tribes used to mark their territory and significant places with trees. Trees were used to distinguish trails and remind people of available resources, natural features, and specific events and locations. Sometimes, American Indian tribes also bent trees to make them parallel to the ground, which is particularly eye-catching.

Indian marker trees are testimony to these people’s rich past and culture. These trees are witnesses to how multicultural American communities were and still are. Preserving them shows respect to these communities.

In the Dallas area, there are two notable Indian marker trees that the TXHTC has documented.

The Storytelling Comanche Marker Tree was the place where the Comanche tribe used to sit and tell stories about how Earth was made. The surrounding area was a campsite for the tribe.

The Gateway Comanche Marker Tree by the Trinity River was a symbol of the tribe and marked the Trinity River Valley where the Comanche got their food—including pecans, water, and herbs. Sadly, the tree didn’t survive a mighty 1998 storm but its memory and careful recording and documentation by the TXHTC help us remember it and appreciate how trees bear witness to the past.

Tree Moving with Environmental Design Inc.

Trees give us much more than their natural beauty. They are silent witnesses of the past and help us reimagine in our minds how a community functioned in the past.

Many significant events took place under trees, from the signing of important contracts to the daily conversation between community members.

Our Environmental Design Inc. tree arborists, environmentalists, and tree engineers are here to help your landscape retain its historic vegetation. Contact us online or call now (281) 376-4260 and we will show you how to free up the space you need to develop your land without harming any trees.