Standing as a silent sentinel to the town, this enormous white oak (Quercus alba) welcomes travelers into the city of McMinnville. This tree is 85 feet tall, a crown spread of 125 feet, and a possible age of over 250 years old. It has several lower limbs larger than many trees. However, it is not size that gives this white oak notoriety; the Birthing Tree is steeped in local folklore. The tree was a local landmark for settlers passing through the area. Travelers from North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia would travel through Knoxville on the Old Kentucky Trail. These roads converged at Rock Island (the closest city at that time), and then passed under the spreading branches of this giant tree before continuing south to Alabama. The huge oak was a well-known meeting place for these weary travelers. Some waited for long periods of time for fellow settlers, bad weather, or lack of supplies.
Entered on the Tennessee Landmark & Historic Tree Register in 2000 as a Landmark Tree.