Centennial Moments

Researched & Written by David Goeke


When Concordia College (now Concordia University) in Austin was first founded, the campus was, in large measure, overgrown. Students were enlisted to help clear some of the undergrowth as a part of their allegiance to the school. With undergrowth gone, there was now a need to beautify the campus. An appeal was made, therefore, to members of the Texas District to join the "Pecan Club". Individuals, for a gift of $2.00, could purchase a 5-6 foot pecan tree which would be planted by a local nursery in Austin. The trees would then be nurtured and cared for by students who were called "fosterers". These students would be assigned a tree or trees for however long they attended Concordia. The original goal was to have people donate up to 50 trees. The response, however, was especially good, so the goal was increased to 100 trees.

When people donated a tree, they were duly recognized in the Texas Messenger newsletter. The April, 1927, issue of the newsletter listed the names of some 28 donors, some purchasing more than one tree. The goal was to have a line of pecan trees all around the campus. One row of trees was to be called “Friends of Concordia” row and would line Concordia Avenue. The second row, which was unnamed, would line what was then called Cameron Road. The third row, called "Walburg Row" would line the northeast side of the campus. History doesn’t tell us whether or not the goal was ever fully reached. A number of those trees were removed with the expansion of the campus over the years. But, a portion of a row still exists today. It is south of Kilian Hall, between the Hirschi Building and Studtmann Hall. They are tall, beautiful trees. . .and still bear pecans. And, oh, if those trees could talk, what stories they would have to tell.