In our latest installment of the famous trees of Texas, we are talking about the Battle Oaks. These three live oak trees are a remnant of a once larger grove that was present on the University of Texas when it opened in 1883. The original forty acres were dotted with live oaks before northern troops reached Galveston during the Civil War. The hill of oaks was destroyed to erect fortress and protect the Texas Capitol. Only these three remain.
In 1923, plans emerged to build a new biological laboratories building in the northwest corner of the campus. This would have meant destruction of the University’s oldest live oaks. Students and faculty raised concerns about this action with Dr. William Battle, the chair of the Faculty Building Committee. Among those who wrote to the Battle was Judge Robert Batts, a distinguished jurist and law professor who later became chair of the Board of Regents. His letter was very direct. He told Battle that he’d come down to “Austin with a shotgun” if that’s what was needed to save the oaks. Dr. Battle agreed that the trees should be saved. He took the matter up with the Board of Regents and convinced them to move the building farther east. The oaks were later named for their champion.
The trees are located on 24th Street, which is one block east of Guadalupe in Austin. If you want to visit them, you can. They’re near the Barbara Jordan statue and are a great reminder of Texas history that’s still alive today. At Austin Tree Service, we want to protect all of your trees. Give us a call today at 512-341-8888 for more information. We perform a wide variety of services for your trees.