Explore Palm Springs: Palm Trees Line Palm Canyon Drive

Formal dedication in fall includes intro of future starlet Mamie Van Doren



In the summer of 1949, Palm Canyon Drive became tree-lined with palm trees.

Courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society

In the summer of 1949, the installation of more than 300 palm trees along Palm Canyon Drive was part of a $950,000 civic improvement plan began in downtown Palm Springs.

Approximately 150 each of Washingtonia filifera and Washingtonia robusta were planted 35 to 40 feet apart. The palms, lining either side of the street, were equipped with water lines that watered every tree simultaneously.

The trees planted ranged in size from 12 to 25 feet tall. Each was adorned with a fixture that provided lighting for the sidewalks and streets below.

A formal dedication of the newly planted palms took place the evening of Oct. 1, 1949. A barbecue and dance was held in celebration of the occasion with a special guest, a young aspiring starlet named Joan Olander.

Olander, named Miss Palm Springs in 1949, is better known by the subsequently acquired stage name of Mamie Van Doren.

As Palm Springs celebrates its 75th anniversary, there are a multitude of ways to learn more about this desert treasure. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

Weekly, the Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Scene
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Explore Palm Springs: Little League Baseball

Palm Springs Mayor Florian Boyd tossed out the first baseball of the opening game of the 1956 Palm Springs Little League Series on June 7, 1956.

Explore Palm Springs: Oliver S. McKinney

Oliver S. McKinney found a way to tap into the water source that helped the Greater Palm Springs area flourish.

Explore Palm Springs: Harry's Café

The graduation class from Nellie Coffman Junior High in Palm Springs celebrated its promotion to Palm Springs High School at Harry’s Cafe, which later became a Frank Sinatra hangout called Ruby's Dunes.

Explore Palm Springs: Memorial Day

American Legion Owen Coffman Post 519 in Palm Springs has historically honored local servicemen and women who were killed in action. This year they will honor 27 local residents from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Explore Palm Springs: The Desert Turf Club

Seventy-five Coachella Valley officials gathered on May 3, 1957, to watch as bulldozers began to break up the sand dunes in an attempt to transform the barren desert into The Desert Turf Club, a luxury horseracing track.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the four 2015-2016 Broadway Blockbusters Series shows.
Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags