Texas Live Oak, Quercus fusiformis
The Comanche Council Oak is a Live Oak in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas. It is a massive tree believed to be over 300 years old and when it was measured in 2014 it was already over 8.6 feet in diameter near the base. The height was over 50 feet, and the crown spread was 100 feet by 85 feet. It was officially recognized by the Comanche Nation in December of 2021 as a living witness to their amazing history and culture.
According to Mr. Jimmy W. Arterberry in the book Comanche Marker Trees of Texas: “Treaty/Council Trees are utilized for business purposes. They are service trees, marker trees, and ceremonial trees. They can also be turning trees, medicinal trees, or burial trees, but are generally denoted for their use in marking a particular gathering or meeting location.”
Landa Park contains the Comal Springs, which are the largest in the state and feed the nearby Comal River. The park also contains one of the earliest trails in Texas, known as the El Camino Real de los Tejas.
An excerpt from a historical marker on the site reads: “1700 This tree began as a seedling in this major campsite of Central Texas Indians. Archeology has traced the Indians’ presence here to 13,000 years ago…”
The Live Oak is also well known across Texas as the New Braunfels “Founders’ Oak.” It has been formally recognized by the Texas Forest Service as a Famous Tree of Texas. The Texas Forest Service website states:
“The ‘Founders’ Oak’ was given its name because it has long played a part in the activities of the community’s founders. The first schoolteacher of the colony conducted group singing beneath the boughs of the tree. Abbe Domenech apparently offered mass under the tree in 1849. Each year after 1846, the citizens of New Braunfels gathered on July 4th to read the Declaration of Independence under the tree.”
For more information regarding the Founders’ Oak Famous Tree recognition, visit the Texas Forest Service website. The first media link in the right column is to a New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung article entitled “Founders’ Oak has storied past in New Braunfels.” It was published September 30, 2023, and includes the tree’s history as well as a prelude and invitation to the October 21st ceremony when the tree will be formally recognized as a Comanche Marker Tree.