Barrett Elementary's Guardian Oak

  • The pandemic has made so many of us appreciate the outdoors more than ever before. Nature has become a refuge for families to socially distance safely. In Crosby ISD, we have a piece of nature you may not know about. It’s lived through at least two pandemics and seen the growth of the vibrant communities of Barrett Station and Crosby.

    Behind Barrett Elementary School stands the guardian oak. The school literally grew up around the single, solitary oak tree. The oak stands in solitude every morning as children arrive for a new day of learning. The oak watches each afternoon as first graders and second graders rush into their mother or father’s arms. How many first days has this oak seen? How many happy tears at the end of fifth grade has the tree been witness to? Countless.

    Barrett Elementary School first opened in 1991, and the guardian oak was the only shade where both students and teachers could escape our hot Houston sun. Secrets whispered. Games played. We wonder if the guardian oak is sad to see summer come. It spends a few months mostly in silence without hearing kids at play. The tree has seen a lot of its share of solitude. Quietly growing – we think – since about 1838. The oak stands 45 feet high. We believe it’s been growing for about 183 years. We took the diameter – 45.8” – and ran that through an age calculator for oak trees. You can do the same for almost any tree you see in your neighborhood or while on a hike. Here’s the link

    It’s amazing to reflect that this guardian oak is older than anyone you know. It’s been growing through all of Texas history as a state. It may have been a seedling for Texas settlers and possibly was even growing during the Runaway Scrape and the Battle of San Jacinto. The magnificent tree is just one small part of so much history here in Crosby ISD.

The old oak tree has been growing since around 1838