Skip to Main Content

First Tree Planted on the Texas High Plains

Field review by the editors.

Panhandle, Texas

You have to look pretty hard to find a tree on the high plains of Texas -- which cover roughly 26,000 square miles. Back in 1888, a tree was even tougher to find. That's when settlers Thomas and Melissa Cree arrived. Thomas dug a hole in the ground for a house (no lumber), and then Melissa sent him off to find a tree. He eventually did, a sapling of an Osage-Orange, brought it back, and planted it by the hole.

The Crees moved away four years later, but the tree remained, growing in Texas lore if not particularly in size. In 1963 governor John Connally declared it a Texas Historic Landmark and gave it its own bronze plaque. Six years later it was dead, killed by pesticides sprayed on a nearby field.

The tree is gone, but the little fence that surrounded it, and the plaque, remain. Today a cluster of scruffy trees grows at the site, although it's unclear if they're second-generation growth from the First Tree, or substitutes planted by sentimental Texans.

First Tree Planted on the Texas High Plains

US Hwy 60, Panhandle, TX
On the south side of US 60, roughly five miles south of town. I-40 exit 87. Drive north 4.5 miles to US 60, then turn right and drive another 4.5 miles. The little turnout with the tree will be on the right.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Six-Shooter BarbecueSix-Shooter Barbecue, Panhandle, TX - 8 mi.
Stoner Patriot Peace Garden of All FaithsStoner Patriot Peace Garden of All Faiths, Amarillo, TX - 8 mi.
Little Buddhist TempleLittle Buddhist Temple, Amarillo, TX - 16 mi.
In the region:
Floating Mesa, Amarillo, TX - 33 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Texas

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Texas.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Texas Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Pencil Sharpener Museum, Logan, Ohio (Feb 26-Mar 3, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings