OKC's Survivor Tree Damaged, Withstands Ice Storm 

Tuesday, October 27th 2020, 5:52 pm
By: Lisa Monahan

A historic October ice storm toppled trees across Oklahoma and compromised a significant part of state history.

The Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum in downtown Oklahoma City was damaged Tuesday.

"We were disappointed that we lost a branch," said Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Executive Director Kari Watkins.

The tree has symbolized the resilience of Oklahomans since 1995 when it withstood the blast from a bomb at the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. 

Throughout the years, the tree has also endured some of the worst storms. Crews from the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and the urban forestry division of the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department work in 24 hour shifts to preserve the more than 100-year-old tree.

"The guys have been out here, they take shifts beating the ice off the tree, braces under the tree, and those will remain in place until it has melted," said Watkins.

Despite their efforts, the oldest branch snapped from the weight of the accumulating ice.

Watkins said the branch will be preserved. They plan to cut it, save it and transform the branch into a work of art.

Most of the Survivor Tree appeared to still be intact.

However, if the damage compromises the longevity of the tree, there are clones planted in Scissortail Park and other places in the state.

The ice storm also forced the memorial and museum to close Tuesday.

Several trees on the property were also damaged and deemed dangerous condition for visitors.

Watkins said they even had to turn away volunteers who were eager to assist with preservation efforts.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum grounds will remain closed on Wednesday.