With several centuries under its belt, the Osborne Boundary Oak on N.C. 110 in Haywood County’s Bethel community has long since qualified for the historic marker recently erected alongside it.
Historic Preservation Committee members with the Bethel Rural Community Organization granted the tree historic designation. The historic marker caps 33 years of a community-driven effort to protect and gain recognition for the tree supported by fans throughout the county.
The state Department of Transportation in 1978 wanted to remove the tree during a highway-widening project, stirring residents to action. The highway was redirected, sparing the tree.
In 2009, when the tree started failing due to old age, the community organization and others stepped in to give it attention to ensure its survival. The tree has witnessed several centuries of history, provided shade for nearby early Native American settlements, edged the trail of the Rutherford Trace march against the Cherokee and served as a boundary marker before Haywood County was established.