Podium Pecan

Big monarch’s wood could go to schools

The wood harvested from the historic “Big Pecan” could stand again as podiums in every Highland Park ISD campus.

Rather than make money off the tree, town leaders want to use the wood to benefit schools.

“We just want to share the beauty of this wonderful tree,” Mayor Margo Goodwin said.

The mayor said she talked to Highland Park ISD Superintendent Tom Trigg, who confirmed that the schools could and would use additional podiums. “He thought it was a good idea.”

Council members Marc Myers and Craig Penfold also called it a good idea, and Mayor Pro Tem David Dowler suggested the podiums include plaques detailing the tree’s history.

The more than 150-year-old monarch at Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road served for decades as the site of the oldest Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Dallas County. Still, age and disease had raised concerns about its safety, prompting its removal in October 2019.

We just want to share the beauty of this wonderful tree.

Margo Goodwin

A nearby pecan, grafted from the famous monarch, planted in 1951, and dubbed the Landmark Tree in 2019, serves as the location of the annual tree lighting now.

The Big Pecan, an enduring symbol of Highland Park, served as inspiration for the logo on the Park Cities People masthead.

However, Goodwin noted its importance extends beyond the town limits.

“It’s really a community tree,” she said.

The town’s website tells how Joseph Cole, a Civil War veteran who had seen too much death, saved a pencil-thin sapling he had accidentally plowed over, allowing it to grow into a colossal landmark, once topping 75 feet, and symbol of resilience.

Its lumber went to Urban Timber Harvest for milling, treatment, and storage.

Holly Russell, a management assistant in the town’s Parks Department, reported to council members how a recent visit to UTH found ample wood for many projects.

“This company can make anything from large tables such as this [one in the study session conference room at town hall] to anything teeny tiny,” Russell said. “Subject to bidding requirements, if UTH were selected to be the craftsmen of choice, the only cost to any project is the labor.”

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

One thought on “Podium Pecan

  • April 5, 2022 at 11:13 am

    History and memories are wonderful! My mother went to Hockaday Junior College and then SMU in the ’40’s. She still remembers the beautiful tree my children and I’ve also enjoyed for many years. I hope my grandchildren can enjoy this piece of history if they’re fortunate enough to attend HPISD. Margo B


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