Half-Way Oak - US-183 and CR 160, Stephens County, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member WayBetterFinder
N 32° 33.796 W 098° 53.581
14S E 510042 N 3602877
Quick Description: The Dallas Historic Tree Coalition (DHTC) worked with the Texas Forest Service to get the Half-Way Oak officially designated as a Texas historic tree. The DHTC sponsored the tree's historic marker for the occasion.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 12/22/2020 10:36:36 AM
Waymark Code: WM13J2Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 0

Long Description:
"On April 29, 2011 ... the Texas Forest Service designated the Half-Way Oak as an official Historic Tree and it was listed in the Historic Tree Registry as a living legend and a testament to all of the history which it has witnessed ..."(1) This tree is also listed on page 130 of the 2015 edition of the Texas A&M Forest Service's "Famous Trees of Texas." It has survived centuries of storms, floods, fires, infestations, civilizations, and modernizations. It was almost cut down so that TxDOT could widen US-183! It is beginning to show its age. Several major branches are now proper up by metal pole supports and its central trunk has cracked open, but it still alive and is still a landmark to Stephens County and its surrounding TX counties.

It is named Half-Way Oak because it is at the halfway mark between Breckenridge, TX to its north and Cisco (and Eastland and Ranger) to its south. This tree was used as one of two designated landmarks on a county map from 1858. It is the largest, tallest, and perhaps only tree along the old stagecoach trail that ran between Stephenville and Fort Griffin since the 1867. It was also used by settlers for shade and sanctuary to the many travelers that migrated north or south in this region of Texas later in the 1880 and on. Of course, the local Indians had been used it as a rest area well more centuries before TxDOT even thought to designate it as such.

The text of the sign reads as follows:

"Half-Way Oak

The Half-Way Oak has been a popular rest stop, providing shade and comfort for those traveling on foot, horseback, wagons and automobiles for 200 years. The live oak tree got its name from its location half-way between Breckenridge and the towns of Cisco, Eastland and Ranger was well as a mid-point for the original passage from Stephensville to Fort Griffin. The Half-Way Oak was one of only two trees used as landmarks in an 1858 map of Stephens County. The tree measures 69 inches in diameter and has a circumference of 18 feet. The Half-Way Oak was set to be removed in the mid-1970s to widen U.S. 183, but residents of Breckenridge refused to allow the tree to be harmed. Ice storms have broken huge limbs and telephone lines were placed through the top of it. One motorist died by crashing into the tree. In 1980, the tree was accidentally sprayed with an herbicide and lost all its leaves and it survived. On Arbor Day, 2011, Texas Forest Service designated the Half-Way Oak as a Famous Tree of Texas. We hope the tree can continue to be a beacon for weary travelers for many years to come."

(1) Link to TxHTC article on Half-Way Oak historic designation:
(visit link)

Abilene News Reporter article on historic Half-Way Oak:
(visit link)

Texas A&M Forest Service page on Half-Way Oak from 1970 edition of Famous Trees of Texas:
(visit link)
Group that erected the marker: Dallas Historic Tree Coalition

URL of a web site with more information about the history mentioned on the sign: [Web Link]

Address of where the marker is located. Approximate if necessary:
Rest Area on east side of US-183 at intersection with CR 160
Stephens County, TX USA

Visit Instructions:
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