I was chatting with a colleague right after lunch about the water oak out by Rayzor Hall, which was reduced to this the last time I looked:
She asked how old it was and I said about fifty years. But all afternoon I’ve been bothered by the fact that I don’t actually know this. The only practical way to figure it out is to start with aerials of the quad and hope for the best. This worked out as per usual–lots of photos with this spot just out of the frame or covered in shadow. But I was sure I could see the tree in this 1967 shot. (Allen Center, which opened in 1966, is just about finished and Herman Brown, which opened in 1968 has recently begun construction.) Zoom in and see a surprise bonus second tree right next to it:
Next I went looking for pictures of the front of Fondren. There are a lot of these and many include broad views of the quad. This is where I hit pay dirt. Those trees are not there in the construction photos of Rayzor but they do appear in the pictures that were taken of the area after the building was finished. If you look closely you’ll see several other unaccounted for trees:
They’re in this one too but you have to squint:
So if it was planted in 1962 it was 57 years old when it came down. That’s not unreasonable for a water oak and it was reasonably close to my guess.
Bonus: Here we go.
One of my favorite things, by the way, is ducking under caution tape.
Where there’s a stump, there are rings that can be counted.
True, but that method doesn’t require you to look at lots of old photographs!