The Old Red Oak Trees


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Among C.E. Garee’s memorabilia is a 1965 newspaper article about 196 red oak trees that were planted around the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman.  My husband remembers his grandmother pointing out the trees as they drove through the campus and telling him that they were from his great grandfather, Ed Garee.



Letter from G.L. Cross, OU President, to Mr. Garee

Mr. Garee was a nurseryman known for hybridizing and propagating many species of plants to Oklahoma.  About 1900 he began working on yard and park beautification and introduced dozens of varieties of trees to central Oklahoma.  In the mid 1930’s he and Howard Jenson, head of the OU Landscape department, found and planted 16 Caddo Maple trees on the campus1, 2.  George L. Cross, OU president, requested Mr. Garee’s to attend a luncheon on May 31, 1964 in his honor to show appreciation for all his contributions in “adapting native Oklahoma vegetation for landscaping purposes…”. Posthumously, in 1977 the Council of Norman Garden Clubs planted a Caddo Maple in his honor.

I have not been able to learn how OU acquired the trees.  Perhaps they were from Mr. Garee’s Noble Nursery or maybe they were planted in his honor along with the appreciation luncheon.

Many of those trees still line the streets of Lindsay, Jenkins and Timberdale and still define the boundaries of the campus. Here’s a side by side photo showing the 1964 photo by Tony Wood and my 2015 photo taken at my best guess of the location of the original photo.


If you have any information on how OU acquired these trees I would love to hear from you.


  1. Garee, C.E. “Ed Garee’s Stories”, page 13.  Accessed August 23, 2015.
  2. “Roots Run Deep for T.H. Milby.” Norman Transcript, March 10, 2007. Accessed August 23, 2015.
  3. Norman Club Plants Caddo Maple in Reaves Park.” Norman Transcript, February 20, 1977 page 20.

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