Kissing Oak

Historical Period: Early Statehood (1845-1861)
Historical Topic: Politics & Politicians, Sam Houston
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Hays
Public Access: Yes

Under this historic oak, which stands on the west bank of the San Marcos River, at San Marcos, Senator Sam Houston made one of his more than 60 campaign addresses in an unsuccessful gubernatorial race against Hardin R. Runnels.

The date of his gala visit was July 24, 1857. When the settlers learned that the famous Texas general was coming, great plans were made to welcome him.

A number of young ladies in the community pooled their talents and made a Texas flag. Before the senator began his speech, they presented it to their hero, and he accepted with his usual eloquence of speech.

When he had finished his address, Houston went into the crowd to shake hands with his listeners, and when he reached the ladies who had presented him the flag, he gallantly bussed each to show his added appreciation.

After the kissing incident, the tree under which Houston had spoken became known as the Kissing Oak.

The Kissing Oak is between the Boy Scout Lodge and the old American Legion Post 144 on the edge of the parking lot for the River Lodge office of Southwest Texas State University.