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The Big Pecan Tree
A true treasure in Highland Park is the grand old pecan tree on Armstrong Parkway at Preston Road. This mammoth tree is approximately 75 feet wide by 75 feet tall and is over 140 years old.

History
In 1843, Dr. John Cole of Virginia and the first physician of Dallas County, acquired 410 acres as a headright from the Republic of Texas. He began buying additional acreage that included the area that would become Highland Park and part of University Park.

The pecan tree was discovered by Cole's son Joseph Cole while planting corn, when he unknowingly plowed over a small pecan tree. The story goes that Joseph Cole, having come home from the Civil War witnessing so much destruction and killing, staked the tree up to protect it, and hand-watered the pecan tree as a testament to life. In 1888, Joseph Cole, sold 294.9 acres to the Philadelphia Place Land Association, with the understanding that the purchaser would continue to protect the tree. The land on which the pecan tree stands was acquired by John S. Armstrong in 1908, for $21 per acre. 

When developing the town years later, it is reported that Hugh Prather, Sr. was offered a million dollars for a lot that would include the pecan tree.  His sons-in-law, Edgar Flippin and Hugh Prather, hired the noted city planner George E. Kessler to design a parkway to protect the tree and provide it with a place of honor at the entrance of town

And because of the story, it became known as the "Million Dollar Monarch.   The first lighting of the pecan tree occurred during the Christmas holidays in 1927 by Flippen-Prather Realty. The tree has been adorned with lights every holiday season since, except during World War II and during the 1973 energy crisis. The lighting of the tree is recognized as the oldest community tree lighting tradition in Dallas County.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
lighted pecan treeThe first lighting of the tree occurred during the Christmas holiday season was by Flippin-Prather Realty in 1927 to promote their new development, Highland Park West. The tree has been adorned with lights every holiday season since, except during World War II. and during the 1973 energy crisis. The lighting of the tree is recognized as the oldest community Christmas tree lighting tradition in Dallas County. The tree requires four men and almost one week to decorate with over 5,000 red, blue, orange, and green Christmas lights.

The Event
Join us on the first Thursday in December for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, at 7 p.m. This annual event is fun for the whole family. The Big Pecan Tree is located at the corner of Preston Road and Armstrong Parkway.

Million Dollar Monarch
You can view KERA, executive producer Rob Tranchin's Emmy Award-winning short story on the tree titled Million Dollar Monarch: