If you're looking for one of the oldest historical landmarks in the state of Texas, then you'll need to plan a trip to Rockport. There you'll find one of the oldest and most famous trees in the entire state, "The Big Tree."
North of Corpus Christi lies Goose Island State Park. Texans already frequent the area to enjoy outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. But one of the most interesting things to see in the park is The Big Tree. It's one of the largest live oak trees in the United States not to mention one of the oldest oak trees. The 1,000-year-old tree has lived through some of the most interesting times in our history, including the Civil War.
Over the years, this old tree has been able to withstand anything. In 2011, firefighters had to pour gallons of water on the tree during a devastating drought. But the old live oak pulled through.
Texas Parks and Wildlife even reported that following the tragic destruction of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast, The Big Tree was unscathed. In fact, Texas Monthly reports that the tree has survived over 40 hurricanes. That's Texas strong. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the historic tree stands 44 feet tall, while its trunk is over 35 feet in circumference.
The Big Tree was named the State Champion Coastal Live Oak in 1966 but was later dethroned by the San Bernard Oak on the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. The Big Tree is technically not the oldest live oak in Texas -- that honor belongs to a tree in nearby Brazoria County. However, we have a feeling The Big Tree is still the favorite among Texans.
A plaque at the tree, written by John E. Williams, greets visitors to let them know of The Big Tree's legacy.
"Welcome to my home.
I am a live oak tree and I am very old. I have seen spring return more than a thousand times. I can remember hundreds of hurricanes, most I'd rather forget, but I withstood. There was a big fire once. I hate fires.
Around me are my offspring. We are an old-dune woodland community. We provide shelter and acorns for squirrels, jays, raccoons, bobwhite, deer, javelina, and most other members of our community.
For most of my life I belonged only to myself. Now I belong to you, or so I'm told. Humpf! Branch breakers and root tramplers the lot of you.
Some years ago someone came and patched my cracks, trimmed my dead branches, killed my pests and healed my fungus rots. Was that you? I'm feeling much better, thank you.
I am tired now. You may leave me in peace when you are ready to go. Please leave my home as you found it. I have important things to do. The seasons are changing again and I must get ready."