Columbus Live Oak

Historical Period: 20th Century (1900 & Later)
Historical Topic: Odds & Ends
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Colorado
Public Access: Yes

This gnarled live oak warrants a lot of attention. Its behemoth size and central location on a main street in Columbus means it can’t help but get noticed. Drivers often pull over to admire it, and passersby take keepsake photos of the live oak that was once confirmed as the second largest in the state (today it remains in the top 10).

The Texas Big Tree Registry has long promoted the fact that big trees are an integral part of Texas heritage. The city of Columbus is a true embodiment of that belief—its pride in the Columbus Live Oak is as long-lived as the town itself. The tree is estimated to be over five hundred years old and continues to generate interest from both big tree enthusiasts and history buffs.

Situated near the Colorado River, this live oak was at the forefront of Texas frontier history. The area was first settled by members of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” in 1821 on the site of Montezuma’s Indian village. Statesman and soldier Sam Houston reportedly camped on the river near Columbus, then known as Beason’s Crossing.

Yet another interesting feature of this well-loved tree is its prominent structural support—it has three substantial steel poles helping to bear the weight of its larger branches. Regardless of size, Columbus proudly promotes its live oak tree community. The town motto is “City of Live Oaks and Live Folks.” It’s always good to have both.

The Columbus Live Oak is located on private property on Walnut Street, across from Veterans Drive, in Columbus. A three-car parking space has been provided for visitors.