In a park in Austin grows the last survivor of a grove of live oaks once called the Council Oaks. Legend states that here Stephen F. Austin closed the first boundary line pact with Native Americans. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, founded early Anglo settlements while Texas was still part of Mexico.
In 1989, a vandal poured a large amount of herbicide under the ancient oak. The tree soon went into shock losing three sets of leaves. A blank check was written by Ross Perot to finance the landmark’s rescue. Three and a half feet of contaminated topsoil were removed and replaced, 60 foot tall shade screens were erected around the tree and spring water was misted onto the leaves every half hour. The Treaty Oak has survived and is healthy today but the loss of many limbs has rendered it a shadow of its former grand self. The vandal turned out to be a star-crossed lover who had proposed to his wife under the tree.