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:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Weekend Getaways: Terranea Resort Lives Up to Buzz

Desert residents seeking an idyllic, oceanfront escape need look no further than Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Art in the Open

Infusing character and paying homage to the community’s dedication to creativity, sculptural gardens play a major role in the desert outdoor experience. Here, we highlight three unique spaces that shine under our resplendent sunny skies.

Robin Hood Archery Hits a Bullseye With All Ages

Robin Hood Archery in Indio pairs safety and simplicity as a means to extend the sport to a wide spectrum of clientele ranging in age from 7 to 90.

Judy Garland's Star is Reborn Through Joey Luft's Show

Judy Garland's star was reborn through her son Joey Luft's show, "A Judy Garland Concert With Joey Luft," using rare photos, clips, gowns, and an audience Q&A.

Discover the Top Sightseeing Spots in Greater Palm Springs

Whether you’re looking to commune with nature, fly high in a balloon, or see where the Hollywood stars of old once lived, the Coachella Valley offers the perfect tour.

Promotions + Contests

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.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.