Galveston Island is home to an impressive collection of Galveston oak tree sculptures, all hand-carved by local artists and featuring a wide variety of figures—including wildlife, mermaids, angels, household pets, and much more.
As of this writing, there are over thirty sculptures and more are sure to come. Beautiful examples of wood carving and local artisanship, these sculptures are featured prominently in the yards of residents all over town. There are no organized tours available, so each visitor is free to create their own route using an interactive map available, which is available here.
Residents began commissioning these sculptures shortly after Hurricane Ike in 2008, when they discovered the storm had seriously damaged many of their trees. Instead of uprooting the trees –many of which had been in their families for generations—they chose to turn them into pieces of art. Each sculpture was designed to accent its surroundings and to express the homeowners’ personality and history—in fact many of the homeowners have become quite fond of greeting visitors and are always happy to tell the story behind their tree sculptures.
Among the most popular of the sculptures are the Tin Man (1702 Winnie), the Birds of Galveston (1620 Sealy), the Geisha (1717 Ball), and the Monument to Galveston’s Trees (1028 Winnie). Most of the sculptures are on the island’s east end between Broadway and Market Street and can be seen during a gentle afternoon walk, but several of them are further west. For these last, visitors should expect a short drive.
For fans of wood sculpture and local artisanship, this self-guided tour is a must.