Deceased 2011 (Lost to extended heat and drought)

Irving Escarpment Ridge Comanche Marker Tree

Post Oak, Quercus stellata

The Story

The Cross Timbers ecosystem in Irving was an area of great significance to the Comanche in the mid-eighteen hundreds. This particular area featured scenic views of Red Oaks, Post Oaks, prairie grass, wildflowers, acorns the women ground into a paste for food, native medicinal plants the healers used to make medicines, as well as a “paint rock” quarry. Stone tools and other artifacts used by American Indians have been found in and around the Irving escarpment ridge area.  

The land also provided the Comanche and other tribes who frequented the Cross Timbers with a clear view of Bird’s Fort Trail from the escarpment ridge. From this natural high point, they could watch for activity or movement on the trail below and observe smoke signals from nearby areas. The severely bent Post Oak (Quercus stellata) with a bow in the trunk and several outward growing limbs, as well as four limbs growing upright stood on the ridge.

The tree pointed to the nearby “paint rock” quarry, which was a significant find for the Comanche. They painted their bodies, horses, and hides with the pigments extracted from the paint rock quarry. The paint rock pigments were also used to create rock art.

Paint made from the pigments of the “paint rock” quarry were an important part of the Comanche tradition.

When the Comanche Nation Tribal Elder Council visited the tree they gathered pieces of the paint rock for their future use and to follow in the footsteps of their previous generations. The Elder Council recognized the Irving Escarpment Ridge tree as a marker tree bent to reveal the paint rock quarry’s location. It was also recognized as having a direct relationship with Bird’s Fort Trail.

Unfortunately, the tree was lost due to extreme heat and drought in 2011 and though it was a very unfortunate loss, it allowed further investigation into its past history. Since the tree had a hollow trunk for much of its life, a large number of animal bones were found inside the trunk.  

Several bones were extracted from a hole in the bottom of the trunk, leaving us to guess the story behind their reason for being there.


Approximately half of the bones found in the hollow of the tree are in the picture above.


Estimated Age
Deceased - Over 150 years old
33 feet
46 feet
106.8 inches

Comanche Nation, Jimmy W. Arterberry, Mary Brown-Marsden, Patrick Daly, Jerry Haba, Larry Harmon, Linda Pelon, Sara Beckelman, and Steve Houser

Edited for Online Publication by RuthAnn Jackson