The Cast Iron Forest
A Natural and Cultural History of the North American Cross Timbers
296 Pages, 27 color photos, 52 b&w photos, 12 b&w illus., 8 b&w maps
Sales Date: June 28, 2010
Winner, Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 2001
A complex mosaic of post oak and blackjack oak forests interspersed with prairies, the Cross Timbers covers a north-south belt of southern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and North Central Texas. 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.
This landmark book fully describes the natural environment of the Cross Timbers and the role that people have played in transforming the region. Richard Francaviglia opens with a natural history that discusses the region's geography and geology, vegetation, and climate. He then traces the interaction of people and the landscape, from the earliest Native American inhabitants and European explorers to the developers and residents of today's ever-expanding cities and suburbs. Many historical and contemporary maps and photographs illustrate the text.
This is the most important, original, and comprehensive regional study yet to appear of the amazing Cross Timbers region in North America.... It will likely be the standard benchmark survey of the region for quite some time.
— John Miller Morris, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Texas at San Antonio
- Chapter 1. "The Natural Curiosities Of The Country": A Brief Natural History Of The Cross Timbers
- Chapter 2. "Through Forests Of Cast Iron": The European American Encounter With The Cross Timbers
- Chapter 3. "The Destroying Axe Of The Pioneer": The Transformation Of The Cross Timbers
- Chapter 4. "Now We Have The Modern Cross Timbers: The Persistence Of A Perceptual Region
- Summary And Conclusion: "The Delightful Scenery We Have Traversed"