One of Austin’s most famous trees, the Hogg Pecan, was recently cut down. The venerable tree, suffering due to the deadly drought conditions, was determined by the City of Austin to be unable to survive. The original tree was planted at the grave of Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg in 1906 who requested trees be planted so their fruit could feed the needy people of the state. The original tree had died, so the one pictured here and loved is actually the second to share the famous surname.
Not everyone agreed that the tree should be removed. The group that takes care of the Governors grave, the Lone Star Questers, were appalled when told their beloved tree was cut down. They rushed out to the tree find nothing left but, “various limbs lying all over the road and the stump still standing at around 4 ft.”
Betty Williamson, the spokeswoman for the club, made an appointment to speak to the City Council to speak about the tree’s demise. According to Camile Raycraft, “the council seemed surprised, even though a city crew cut it down, and were willing to help us remedy this by replacing the pecan and adding a walnut which was what Gov. Hogg requested to be on his burial plot.”
Camille will meet with a representative of the Parks Dept on Thurs. She is bringing a copy of, “Living Witness: Historic Trees of Texas,” to share with the council. “I wanted to let you know that despite people like you, Damon Waitt, (Head Botanist at the Wildflower Center), Joseph Hammer (also of the Wildflower Center) and (LadyBird) Johnson who know the value of historic trees, some people continue to have little disregard. I do understand that the tree was probably in distress because of the dire drought of 2011 and the management group’s not continuing to water those trees regularly. But their cavalier manner of dealing with it was sad to us all. I will let you know about our meeting.”
While no one is happy with the end of the great tree, I am happy to report that there are plenty of people like Camille all over the world who care about our natural wonders.