Standing Strong Since the Civil War
These majestic live oak trees were already landmarks when the University of Texas opened in 1883.
During the Civil War, legend has it that when northern troops had reached Galveston and were poised to head north toward Austin, Southern leaders discussed the possibility of building a fort on a hill close to the Texas Capitol in order to better protect it from the enemy. While the fort was never built, a large group of live oak trees on the hill was cut down just in case the order was formalized. Only 3 of the largest on the perimeter were allowed to remain standing.
Later, in the mid-1920’s, the University discussed the possibility of building a new biology building on the campus. The spot they selected was on the same hill where the southern army had planned to build the fort. Once again, the three live oak trees were threatened.
The Fight to Save the Oaks
When students and faculty got wind of the plans, they approached Dr. William Battle, the head of the Building Committee, and started a public campaign to save the oaks. They asked students, faculty, alumni and citizens to join the fight.
Robert Batts, a former UT law professor and who later served as chairman of the Board of Regents, wrote to Battle that he would “come down to Austin with a shotgun” if necessary to win the war and save the 3 oaks. The public outcry and this particular letter from Batts convinced Battle that the trees should be protected in every way possible. Battle made a spirited speech to the Board of Regents, convincing them to move the location of the building.
The oaks were saved from destruction and became known as the Battle Oaks to honor his fight to preserve them. The three trees still stand on the campus of The University of Texas on 24th Street, a block east of Guadalupe Street, the western boundary of the UT campus.
Planting and caring for your Legendary Tree is easy — see the Tree Care page for more information. The saplings we sell are just over a year old, approaching 3 feet tall, and in 1 gallon containers. They are shipped in a well-designed, eco-friendly recycled paper box. We use FedEx ground and guarantee arrival within 5 business days of your order.