Plainview Hackberries R.I.P.

Historical Period: Frontier Texas (1865-1900)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements
Species: Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)
County: Hale
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

Located in a city park between Broadway and Date streets in Plainview is the last survivor of two hackberry groves which once dominated the landscape and served as a landmark to travelers on the high plains more than a century ago. Near this tree a spring flows into Running Water Draw. The trees and the spring later gave Plainview the name “Oasis of the Plains.”

Near the groves, E. L. Lowe and Z. T. Maxwell made their first homes. In the spring of 1887 the two men decided to establish a town. The names “Hackberry Groves” and “Running Water Draw” were considered, but the men wanted something more descriptive. Noting that the view in all directions from their future town was obstructed only by the two hackberry groves, they decided to name the town Plainview.

In the fall of 1887, the town was surveyed, lots were offered for sale, and a grocery store was opened near the courthouse square. During the remainder of 1887, settlers began arriving. The following year Lowe and Maxwell deeded portions of their own lands to the town of Plainview for streets, alleys, and a public square.

In a small but important way, these lone hackberry trees played a part in Panhandle history by pointing the way to two pioneers, who, like these trees, sank their roots deep in the soil of this, the “Oasis of the Plains.”

The trees were located in the city park near 2nd and Cedar Streets, in Plainview.