The Story of the Iron Forest
The Cast Iron Forest known as Cross Timbers, is a unique type of woodlands that grows from central Texas to the Oklahoma-Kansas line. It is characterized by dense low shrubs, as well as the dense stands of trees that are predominantly Live Oak in Texas, Post Oak and Blackjack Oak in Oklahoma, and include many other tree varieties. Home to Native Americans over several thousand years, the Cross Timbers became a barrier to westward expansion in the nineteenth century, until roads and railroads opened it up to farmers and ranchers, coal miners, and modern city developers, all of whom changed its character in far-reaching ways. While traveling west to the frontier in the early 1830’s, American writer Washington Irving described the Cross Timbers as a “Forest of Cast Iron”.
The woodlands of central Oklahoma are the transition from our eastern forests to the western prairies. These woodlands, known as the Cross Timbers, are thick forest, open woodland, and prairie patches. Of Oklahoma’s 12.7 million acres of forest land, about 4 million acres are in the Cross Timbers. Remnants of the Iron Forest are with us still today in Oklahoma City where Iron Forest Wood Company calls home.