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: 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.

Explore Palm Springs: Jerry Lewis

Comedian Jerry Lewis brought his entire cast of 20 to perform at the Starlite Room in The Chi Chi on May 25, 1957, in Palm Springs.

Explore Palm Springs: Water Ditches

There were two main ditches built to disperse water through Palm Springs in its early days; the Tahquitz Ditch and the Whitewater Ditch.

Explore Palm Springs: Desert Circus 1947

As the winter season begins to wind down, the annual Desert Circus celebration revs up and brings out locals and visitors for one of the last celebrations before summer arrives.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

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.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
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