Legend has it that Stephen F. Austin signed the first boundary treaty with the Comanche under the spreading branches of this 500-year-old live oak tree. (A live oak is a species of oak that doesn't lose its leaves in winter.) This is the sole remaining tree in what was once a grove known as Council Oaks. In the late 1980s, a mentally unstable man deliberately poisoned the tree and almost managed to kill it. The attack shocked the community, and led to the creation of a large international team of forestry experts who managed to save the tree through extraordinary efforts. The dried wood from major limbs that they removed was allocated to local artists, whose works were auctioned off for the tree's 500th anniversary in 1993. Now such items as pen sets, gavels, and clocks made out of the tree's severed limbs are for sale, with proceeds going to plant additional trees throughout public areas of Austin.