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‘Million Dollar Monarch’ and the latest goings-on
by Alan Melson 17 Dec 2007

Check out the Scene segment from last Friday’s “Think,” which features Gini’s Deep In The Arts calendar update. The main attraction, though, is a new short film from KERA’s Rob Tranchin called “Million Dollar Monarch.” The film traces the history of a massive pecan tree in a stately neighborhood on the edge of the Park […]

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tree.jpgCheck out the Scene segment from last Friday’s “Think,” which features Gini’s Deep In The Arts calendar update. The main attraction, though, is a new short film from KERA’s Rob Tranchin called “Million Dollar Monarch.”

The film traces the history of a massive pecan tree in a stately neighborhood on the edge of the Park Cities. The tree was planted sometime in the mid-19th century and withstood harsh North Texas weather and development that plowed over a farm to become quite a landmark in the Dallas area, particularly during the holiday season.

More information on the film is coming to kera.org soon, but for now, take a few minutes and watch – you’ll be glad you did.

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  • Really nice film, well worth the time to watch. Thanks for sharing that. I love know the background of how that tree came to be. Very nice story.

  • ruthz

    I loved the short film. Knowledge of our city’s history is vital to keep us from being just random citizens but instead a community. It is perfect timing too, the holiday season is perfect to go and experience it in person. I love how knowing this about this tree now makes me feel small in a differnt sense; to know that the tree was here way before us and will hopefully be around way after us to tell its tale…our tale. Great job! Keep up the good work!

  • What a great short film! I knew nothing of this story, but I have often admired the tree since coming to Dallas in 1983. Beautiful job, and well worth watching.

  • Tom Whitmore

    I was just at an event that paid tribute to one of my ancestors who did a similar thing — bought the land called Redwood Canyon, and donated it to the country as Muir Woods 100 years ago. Each of us has a chance to be a steward for the earth; we choose to do so, each in our own small way, and some of them turn out large. I bow to those who have protected this tree over the years. “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.”

  • Jason Rupert

    Didn’t realize when a group of 20 plus friends rented a bus to look at Christmas lights and ceremoniously circled the tree what significance was there. I was flipping through the channels and when I landed on PBS’s Million Dollar Monarch. I instantly recongnized the tree when they panned to it lit up with lights. We all had a lot of fun that night and took part in some history too, thanks to Rob(our ring leader)

  • Carlton Cranor

    It was wonderful to see the tribute to the “Hiland Park” tree that I looked froward to seeing each Christmas with all it’s lights. I now live a thousand miles away but have fond memories of the tree.

  • Rob
  • Great story, where is it at? I probably have drove by it several times, but never noticed it. I would love to take some pics before its demise.

  • Debbie

    Thanks for reairing this film this evening, it’s a wonderful story.

  • Christy Martin

    I just saw this on KERA. I’m a transplant from Michigan….plan on asking my husband to drive me by the tree. The history of the tree is amazing.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Christy Martin

    Wow….just discovered on another site that the tree is gone. How sad…

    • Christy:

      Last year, a windstorm blew a sizable branch off the tree and there were rumors that it was dying or might have to be torn down — rumors only fanned by that post you might have read on Frontburner
      . But if you read that post again, you’ll notice that Tim Rogers never actually says anything about the eventual fate of the tree, never follows up on it — just that we should all ‘hold a thought’ for it.

      Last time we drove past the pecan tree, it was still there. Enjoy it with your husband.

  • Rob

    I’m trying to figure out just where it is. From the satellite photos of the area I conclude that it is not on Preston Road but rather on Armstrong Pkwy just northwest of Preston. Is this correct?

  • Erik Cole

    I’m 38 yrs old and grew up in the Dallas area all my life. Over the past 10 years have learned many things about my family history in Dallas. A large part of the Turtle Creek area was owned by my past relatives and it makes me very proud to be a Cole for the roles they played in helping make Dallas what it is today. I use to live just walking distance from this pecan tree and would drive by it almost daily but I never knew of it’s history until my cousin called me and told me she saw this film on KERA and to watch it online. I’m so glad that Joesph Cole took the time to see something beautiful in something so small that is now considered this Million Dollar Monarch. Street names and park names of your family here in Dallas are interesting but this story wonderful. I’m very proud of Joe Cole and what he has done for Dallas as well as Calvin and John Cole. Thank you KERA for airing this film and posting it online. It is one more piece of the puzzle in my family’s history.