Arlington, Texas: Witness Tree Remembrance Stump
Witness Tree Memorial Gardens
- W. Bardin Rd, Arlington, TX
- Witness Tree Memorial Gardens. Between Dallas and Fort Worth. I-20 exit 449, then south one block on Cooper St./Hwy 157. Right at the light onto Bardin Rd, then first right into the shopping center.
The historic Witness Tree died after a move attempt to make way for a Kmart, but part of its stump was preserved in a small park to shame the retailer. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About Witness Tree Remembrance Stump
The Witness Tree was a post oak on the old Bardin family farm, and grew to be over 60 feet tall and a couple hundred years old. It was a community focal point -- where families would meet and farm business would be conducted. According to OK Carter of the Star-Telegram (Jan. 23, 2003):
"The late Bill Bardin so fretted about the tree that when he sold the farm for retail development, he required Kmart to issue a $50,000 bond that the post oak would survive at least seven years after the area was developed. In what turned out to be a vast overestimation of a post oak's vigor, Kmart officials in 1992 decided to uproot the tree and transplant it to a site behind and just south of the shopping center. That turned out to be a $50,000 error."
The tree died the following year, and was cut down. Bill Barden used some of the bond money to develop the Memorial Park at the location (the park is actually dedicated to a young local girl who made history as the first American to undergo a heart and lung transplant).
The death of the tree even inspired a child's book (fiction) about a young boy name Billy Bardin who sets out to save the tree. "Billy Bardin and the Witness Tree" was written by Mary E. Penson, and published by Texas Christian University Press (April 1, 2004).[Kathy, 12/08/2004]
Yes, the focal point of this park is a stump on a metal stand, but it's more than just that. The stump (weathered, not burned) is all that remains of the Witness Tree, a very old oak tree that stood nearby where a shopping center now stands. It used to serve as a place for hangings as well as signings of official documents (hence "Witness"). It was cut down (with the accompanying public dismay) in the mid-1990s to make way for the shopping center, although they managed to spare the 4- to 5-foot section of trunk that rests in the park. Partly as a result of this, the city now has a code which prohibits trees the size of the Witness Tree from being cut down to make way for development.[Ben Griffin, 09/15/2003]
Witness Tree Memorial Gardens is a very small park in Arlington, Texas. It is the only park which has for it focal point a burned log resting on a metal stand.[djones, 06/24/2001]