Explore Palm Springs: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Dream built on idea of feeling cool peaks of Mt. San Jacinto



Henrietta Parker and Gail Kanter inspect a tramcar at the Valley Station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in June 1963.

Photo Coutesy of Palm Springs Historical Society

 

In June of 1963, Palm Springs pioneer Henrietta Parker and her niece, Gail Kanter, were given a private tour to inspect the progress on the tramcar prior to the Sept. 12, 1963 opening.

Many early Palm Springs families were a part of Frances Crocker’s dream of building the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The dream began in the summer of 1935 when a young electrical engineer, Francis Crocker. on a trip from Banning to Palm Springs looked up and saw the still snow-capped peak of Mt. San Jacinto and lamented to Desert Sun publisher, Carl Barkow, that Crocker would love to be able to “go up there” where he knew it was nice and cool.

Crocker enlisted the aid of many desert pioneers, including E. Earl Coffman, co-manager of the famed Palm Springs Desert Inn. Even through there were many starts and stops, Crocker’s dream never ceased. A group of diehard supporters joined with him in a 28-year commitment to make his dream a reality.

Many local members of the community stood strong against multiple obstacles, and finally in June of 1963 devoted supporters of the project were able to take a look at the almost completed engineering masterpiece that was soon named the “eighth wonder of the world.”

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

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

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