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Indian Marker Trees In FW Parks?

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#1 Dismuke


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Posted 26 August 2012 - 02:45 PM

I only recently learned about Indian trail marker trees. They are deformed trees that were bent by Indians as a navigation tool pointing the way to various destinations or resources such as a spring or flint/mineral deposits. There is a historic tree society in Dallas that has positively identified a few Indian marker trees in Dallas county. You can see a couple of them in the image slide show that displays on the front of their website at: http://www.dhtc.org/

Apparently the Indians who were in the area that is now the Metroplex shaped their trees somewhat differently than did the Indians in other parts of the country. Indians local to this area bent the trees in an arch very low to the ground. In other parts of the country, the Indians bent the tree higher up from the ground. You can see photos those type of trail marker trees at: http://www.greatlake...reesociety.org/

Anyhow, when I learned of such trees, my first thought was "I have seen trees that look like that before." One of the places I recalled seeing them was in Trader Oak Park. Since then, I have discovered trees with a similar appearance in other Fort Worth parks.

Does anybody here know enough about such trees to know whether the photos I present below are, in fact, Indian trail market trees? The one hunch in my mind that they might not be is the fact that they are in such visible, easy to access locations and I have found zero information at all online that would identify them as such. My assumption is that if people in Dallas are actively identifying such trees there, presumably those same people and people on this side of the Metroplex would be aware of any such trees over here. On the other hand, perhaps that is not a sound assumption.

I am curious if anybody here has any knowledge/opinions on the matter.

The trees in question I have come across so far exist in Trader Oak Park, and S.Z. Boaz Park (on Winscott Rd) and Trinity Park.


There are actually two trees in Trader Oak park that are shaped as though they might be trail marker trees. They are located close to each other - and, interestingly, they each point in exactly opposite directions. The trees can be found in the portion behind the gate that separates the main part of the park from the railroad tracks.

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This is the first tree

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This is the second tree.

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Here are both trees. From this angle, the tree on the left appears to be but a branch off the larger tree that is in front of it. But it is, in fact, a separate trees. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to get a good photo of both trees given the limitations of the camera on my smart phone which was the only camera I had with me.


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Before I show the tree I suspect might be a trail marker tree in this park, here is one that I suspect is NOT a trail marker tree. Note the roots coming out from the base of the tree. My thought is this suggests that the tree most likely topped many years ago and was not shaped that way by the Indians.

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But here is one in the park that I wonder if might be an Indian marker tree.

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Here is where the base of the tree meets the ground. Observe no sign of roots that would indicate that it toppled at some point.


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This tree is located in plain sight from the traffic on West 7th near the park entrance. Is it possible that a tree in such a highly visible location could be an Indian marker tree and NOT be widely known as such?

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Another view of the same tree

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The base of the tree.
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#2 Ron Payne

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

Cool stuff - I'd like to hear more about it! There are also trees like this in Willow Springs Park in Saginaw, although they may be more due to wind than actual markers. Fascinating though.
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#3 Russ Graham

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:07 PM

That is really cool - I've always liked that tree in Trinity Park, and now there's a cool story to go with it. So did they use them to mark trails, or what?

Any confirmation this tree is old enough to be around when there were Indians around here?

#4 Austin55


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

WFAA is talking about this tonight. 

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