Historic Trees Come to Precinct 4

They may be small now, but the five oaks planted along the Spring Creek Greenway come from legendary stock.

Treaty Oak, Borden Oak, Runaway Scrape Oak, Cabinet Oak, and Century Oak are known as some of the longest-lived trees in Texas, most extending back hundreds of years.

The Treaty Oak, a live oak tree in Austin, is one of the oldest at more than 500 years old. Mature even before European settlement, the tree is the last surviving member of the Council Oaks, a grove of 14 trees that served as a sacred meeting place for Tonkawa and Comanche tribes. Despite being poisoned with herbicide in 1989 by a vandal, the tree survived.

The Borden Oak is another impressive tree, first surviving the Great Galveston Storm of 1900 and then the recovery process. During the recovery phase, residents built up the island by 5 feet, burying a large portion of the tree. While the salty soil killed most other trees, the Borden Oak survived after the owner built a dike around the tree to protect it.

The Runaway Scrape Oak sheltered General Sam Houston’s force of less than 400 Texans during their historic retreat from Gonzales, while the Cabinet Oak grew at Lyndon B. Johnson’s historic ranch, dubbed the Texas white house. The Century Oak, estimated at around 118 years old, is special to many Aggies who remember passing the stately tree on campus, posing for photos, or even getting engaged under the tree.

In March, saplings grown from each of these trees were planted along the Spring Creek Greenway as part of Precinct 4’s Historic Trees Project.

For the past few years, Precinct 4 staff have collected samples from historic trees listed in Texas A&M’s Famous Trees of Texas to grow and eventually plant in Precinct 4’s greenways and parks. Once the trees mature, Precinct 4 staff will install an overview sign of the program and smaller signs at each tree describing its historical significance.

Plans also include installing two additional historical trees at the entrance of the Judy Bell Trail at Jones Park, where they can be showcased and thrive. As the saplings mature, Precinct 4 staff will plant additional historic trees.