City seeking artists, woodworkers for Quadricentennial tree project

The Quadricentennial Bur Oak fell in the October 2023 storms. Photography provided by Plano Parks and Recreation.
North Texas residents can submit an online application by March 24 for a chance to turn the historic tree into art.

The City of Plano is seeking woodworkers and artists to take a piece of the Quadricentennial Bur Oak that fell in October and create artistic items to carry on the memory of the historic tree.

Believed by arborists to be more than four centuries old, the tree has stood at Bob Woodruff Park South since before the U.S. Constitution was signed. At the time it fell, the oak tree was 90 feet tall.

The tree has been cut into 5-foot sections ranging from four to 50 feet in diameter. North Texas artists and woodworkers can apply online now through March 24 for a chance to take one of these pieces and turn it into art work. Those selected will be able to sell, donate and/or keep the finished product.

Each application will be judged by a panel who will evaluate and score each proposal. Applications include questions like how the work will benefit the community, how long the applicant has been a woodworker/artist, what the applicant expects to create and specific questions about the project.  Artists must also provide examples of previous work, history of wood working, and a drawing or an example of the proposed finished product.

Plano Parks and Recreation posted about the loss of the tree on Oct. 27.

“We’ve been maintaining this tree for probably 25 years or more, so it’s kind of like an old friend to me,” Steve Houser, an arborilogical services expert said in a video from the City of Plano. “This is the oldest tree in North Texas. It’s not just any tree. If the tree could talk and tell you stories at that age, it saw Indians gathering underneath it and traveling throughout the area.”

Plano Parks & Recreation officials announced the falling of the tree on on Facebook with a warning to avoid the area due to unsafe conditions and a “farewell old friend” to the altitudinous arbor. The City celebrated the life of this magnificent tree through the years as evidenced by the number of weddings, birthday parties, field trips, and other events that took place there. An episode of the TV show Dallas was even filmed at the location.

“We would like to thank our community partners for assisting us in putting this call for artists together and look forward to repurposing this tree’s legacy into beautiful works of art with the help of local artisans and woodworkers,” Urban Forester Marc Beaudoing said.

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