This tree was registered with the National Historic Tree Program as the Prairie Grove Chinkapin Oak since the 1970‟s. In 2004, ASP tried to locate the source tree(s) used by the National Historic Tree Program which led to a nomination. Former Superintendent Ed Wood participated in the original acorn collection with the national program and helped identify the source oaks.
The Prairie Grove Chinkapin Oak stands at the site of an important turning point in the Civil War. The battle fought on December 7, 1862, at Prairie Grove in northwest Arkansas resulted in the retreat of the Confederates under General T.C. Hindman. His mission had been to prevent the joining of Union forces led by General J.C. Blunt and General F.J. Herron. The Union victory strengthened the Northern troops’ strategic position along the Mississippi River.
In the late 1970‟s, the acorns were gathered from a grouping of Chinkapin Oaks. In this area, there was a continuous line of very large Chinkapin Oaks on the edge of the battlefield and only small clusters of oaks remain as the source trees for the national program. One large, ailing oak was found on the edge of the battlefield but some other Chinkapin Oaks, nearby and on newly acquired park property also exist that are healthier and as large as the single tree. However, some of the oaks were not on park property in the 1970‟s when the acorns were gathered. In this area, there was a continuous line of very large Chinkapin Oaks on the edge of the battlefield but due to construction (i.e., roads) and age, many have died and only small clusters of oaks remain. The single oak and a small group of adjacent oaks were identified as the source trees for the national program collection. The other oaks that are also on the ridge of the battlefield are not included since they were not on the park property at the time of the collection.
Location: Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
Registration: February 11, 2005
Species: Chinkapin Oaks