Explore Palm Springs: Zaddie Bunker

Her efforts led to many Palm Canyon Drive buildings



Zaddie R. Bunker (right), nicknamed the “Flying Grandmother,” prepared to take her first solo flight in August of 1951.

Courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society

 

Zaddie Bunker arrived in Palm Springs in 1913 sporting denim coveralls and some knowledge of how to repair automobiles.

Zaddie and her husband, Ed, moved from San Jacinto and opened Bunker’s Garage in 1914. She got her first truck and immediately bought a mail route and began hauling tons of mail and freight from the Seven Springs train station into the village of Palm Springs.

She purchased land on Palm Canyon Drive, when it was called Main Street, and was responsible for many of the residential and downtown buildings including a motion picture theater being built. She was a woman that was well known to friends and family as having an adventurous spirit.

In this photograph, Zaddie R. Bunker, nicknamed the “Flying Grandmother,” prepared to take her first solo flight in August of 1951. She started her first flying lesson at the age of 62.

At 65, she won her wings, and at 71 she broke the sound barrier in an Air Force F100 Super Sabrejet. When her advanced age for a new pilot was brought up in conversations, Zaddie would quote Fred Smith, a test pilot with North American Airlines, who told her that no one is too old to learn to fly.

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: Elvis Presley Meets Richard Nixon

Just before Christmas in 1970, Elvis Presley left the phone number to his Palm Springs home in a letter to then President Richard Nixon asking to become a federal agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Explore Palm Springs: Section 14 Land

In December of 1956, a three-part plan to improve communication between the Palm Springs City Council and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Council was implemented.

Explore Palm Springs: Thanksgiving by the Pool

While other cities across the nation fight freezing temperatures, Palm Springs celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday poolside.

Explore Palm Springs: City of Swimming Pools

By the mid-1960s, Palm Springs could claim the highest per capita pool rate, one for every six residents or a staggering 2,000 pools.

Explore Palm Springs: Picnic Under the Palms

In November of 1955, the Palm Springs Historical Society, Palm Springs City Council, and Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce organized an event to celebrate the pioneers of Palm Springs.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags