Dallas City Council passed a resolution to grant the West Dallas Gateway Pecan Tree a historic tree designation during its meeting on Wednesday, recognizing the tree’s nearly two-centuries-long past in the city.
The Gateway Pecan, also called the Survivor Pecan, has “served for over 175 years as the gateway to West Dallas … the tree has progressed from seeing the last of the bison herds and their hunters, to stagecoaches and wagons, to buggies and carriages, and currently, to today’s extensive motor vehicle traffic,” according to a City memo.
The Texas Historic Tree Coalition Board of Trustees’ nomination form noted that the tree is estimated to be between 175 and 200 years old and is in “medium to poor” physical condition. Currently, the Gateway Pecan has a diameter of 41.5 inches.
Detailing more of the tree’s background, the nomination form states, “Prior to the arrival of the Bryans, Beesons, Conkrells, and other early Dallas settlers, a low-water crossing of the Trinity River was located just east of present day Commerce Street and Riverside Drive in downtown Dallas.”
“As a sapling, the Survivor Pecan sat adjacent to one of the many trails that converged in this area that were used by the bison herds and their native American hunters,” the form states.
The tree survived the major floods of 1866, 1871, 1890, and 1908 and nearly 200 years of surrounding urban development and construction. Following the construction of the levees in 1930, the tree was no longer within the floodplain, which significantly reduced “the amount of moisture and nutrients it received,” causing the tree to suffer “a steady decline in growth rate and health.”
“The tree has lost three major limbs and experienced multiple impacts from passing vehicles,” the nomination form explained. “With a little help, maybe the Survivor Tree can live to see West Dallas flourish again.”
The tree is currently on City-owned land and managed by the Department of Public Works, according to the City’s case report.
The City’s resolution noted that “the Department of Public Works previously approved the nomination” and that “a certified copy of this resolution [will] be filed in the deed records of Dallas County.”
The historic designation will assist in preserving the tree and enhancing the protective infrastructure to prevent cars from continuing to hit it.