On October 26, 2019, the Caddo Oak, a 200 plus year-old post oak (Quercus stellata), was added to the Registry of Texas Historical Trees. The designation was presented by the Texas Historic Tree Coalition. The post oak was nominated by the Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve. You can find photos of the dedication here: Caddo Oak Dedication and 6th Anniversary Celebration
The Caddo Oak is part of a post oak/blackjack oak forest on Kennedale Mountain, which dominates the preserve. More than 1,175 species of plants, animals and bugs have been identified here drawn by such diverse habitat as ponds, meadows and rocky outcrops common to the Eastern Cross Timbers environment.
The Texas Historic Tree Coalition is an all-volunteer organization that works with communities across the State of Texas to recognize and celebrate great old trees. The Dallas-based group also stresses the importance of proper care and protection of these living natural assets, and teaches the benefits of older, large-canopy trees in the urban environment.
“We’re grateful to the Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve for their work to restore and protect this land,” said Mary Graves, President of the Texas Historic Tree Coalition. “The Friends’ research tells the story of centuries of human occupation, and the great old tree that stands as a living connection to the people who’ve gone before us. The post oak is historically significant, and it’s also an important engine that works hard to cool and clean the air, clean the soil, prevent erosion, and slow storm water runoff. We think of it as the Grand Daddy of the preserve.”
Archaeological digs show the neighborhood, with running streams and springs, had human settlement for thousands of years. Many farming tribes moved into the valley below the preserve in the early 1800s after being routed from their homes by the European conquest of East Texas. The tribes, including the Caddo, engaged in an active cooperative trade with plains tribes, such as the Comanche. Collected artifacts and oral histories indicate the Bluff Overlook at the preserve was a Native American lookout and perhaps even a Comanche signal site with sweeping views of Village Creek (formerly Caddo Creek). Texas accounts of the Battle of Village Creek in 1841 report a Native American community of 225 lodges and 300 acres of cultivated pumpkins, squash and corn.