Kissing Tree

Historical Period: Texas Revolution (1835-1836)
Historical Topic: Texas Independence
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Harris
Public Access: Yes

Herman Strack, a blacksmith who emigrated with his family from Prussia in 1848, was the first of five Strack brothers who landed at the Port of Galveston and settled in north Harris County. Many relatives soon followed and the area became a burgeoning German community. Strack raised cattle, built spinning wheels, and fashioned wagon wheels and harnesses. He sold barrels of tar harvested from pine trees at his homestead to customers downtown, which helped fund the purchase of hundreds of acres of property.

Kissing Tree, so named because the tree was popular among couples and many proposals took place under its branches, is the last tangible reminder of those early settlement years. According to Strack family records, Kissing Tree marks the site of Herman Strack’s homestead and blacksmith shop. In a 2019 interview, Mrs. Julie Haggard, the great grand-daughter of Herman Strack, recalled that as a little girl she played in the barn that stood near Kissing Tree.

Several years ago, Kissing Tree was nearly lost to make way for a convenience store parking lot. Thanks to a grassroots movement within the community, Commissioner R. Jack Cagle purchased the property where the tree grows and created Kissing Tree Park. Today, the tree is recognized as a valuable part of the area’s history through its Strack family ties.

Kissing Tree stands in Kissing Tree Park just south of the intersection of T.C. Jester and Louetta in north Harris County.