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(38,587 posts)
Wed Jul 10, 2024, 07:46 AM Jul 10

A beloved palm and pine tree mark California's center. Now they're being cut down


Located on the highway median and towering over neighboring oleander shrubs, the Canary Island palm and the Deodar cedar tree are said to represent the spot where the balmy bottom of California meets its woodsier counterpart. In a state where north-south divisions run deep, the trees have long been a bright spot that speaks to the spirit of each half.

“It’s a cool little claim to fame given how the pine represents northern California and the palm represents southern California,” said Yoshikawa, a Fresno-based travel blogger.

While their origin story remains a mystery, it’s largely agreed that the trees were planted near Madera, California, in the 1920s. Some claim they predate the construction of Highway 99, a historic route that once stretched from Calexico to the Canadian border, and is now called California State Route 99. Local chroniclers have said the trees were probably intended to represent the halfway point between Mexico and Oregon, but have since taken on special symbolism for California since they’re located near the exact center of the Golden state.

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Sadly, expanding the highway will only make traffic worse in the long run, literally paving the way for people who choose or are forced into the automobile commuter lifestyle.
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