Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Land Of Little Water

In person, this moon was amazing, the picture just doesn't do it justice.  It was full and so white, setting behind the mountain just as the sun was coming up.  I'm glad I got to snap a quick picture as we drove through Twentynine Palms, located in the Mojave Desert in Southern California because it was truly one of the only things worth looking at.  

From the Twentynine Palms city website:

"The first recorded exploration of Twentynine Palms was made in 1855 by desert surveyor Colonel Henry Washington. He found Native Americans, principally from the Chemeheuvi tribe, living in the surrounding hills and near the spring they called "Mar-rah," meaning "land of little water." The spring, which is now called the Oasis of Mara, is located on the grounds of the historic 29 Palms Inn adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park Headquarters and Oasis Visitor Center. 

The early Native American inhabitants (Serrano, Chemheuvi, and Cahuilla) were followed in the 1870s by prospectors in search of gold. The Oasis of Mara was a favorite camping spot. There, prospectors would rest and replenish their water supplies before venturing farther into the unknown desert. The area was then generally known as Palms Springs. 

Legend says that the name of Twentynine Palms was first used by these gold miners because of the 29 Washingtonia filifera palm trees surrounding the Oasis, and in fact the area was designated as such in the description of a mining claim by two partners known as McKenzie and Germain, who stated that their claim was a certain distance from 29 Palms Springs. However, it is also known that an A.P. Green, a member of an 1858 survey party, reported that there were 26, not 29, fine, large palm trees at the oasis. There are many stories told of the derivation of our present name, including one that claims that it was Colonel Washington who named it for the number of palm trees he found at the oasis at the time of his 1855 survey, but this has never been authenticated. 

In the 1870s, local Native Americans led prospectors to locations south and east of the oasis where gold had been found. Thus, mining began in the area that later became known as Gold Park. It was not long before freighters were hauling supplies to be used not only in the Gold Park District but also in the Dale Mining District east of Twentynine Palms, where other valuable deposits had been located. Gold mining continued sporadically through the following years, but ended about the time of the onset of World War I, when no further new ore deposit discoveries were occurring.

After the war, many veterans returned to their homes suffering from tuberculosis and the effects of the mustard gas that had been used in combat. Dr. James B. Luckie from Pasadena, California, treated many of these men and in the 1920s began to search for an area in the California desert that would provide a beneficial environment for people afflicted with respiratory and heart ailments. After visiting many places, he chose Twentynine Palms because it had a moderate elevation and clean dry air, as well as being accessible to large cities. Veterans brought their families and began homesteading the 160-acre parcels then made available to settlers by the federal government at no cost. It was this homesteading that determined the widespread area that is Twentynine Palms today." 

The city is most famous for being the location of the world's largest Marine Corps training base, the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

I marvel at some of the things one can photograph in the desert - cactus, sunsets, mountains, odd-looking plants - but I'm not really a fan of any kind of desert landscape.  I'm sure this place has some appeal for its residents since the city motto is "A Desert Oasis", but I found the city and surrounding area with its rundown houses, sand battered storefronts and endless barren terrain to be depressing and bleak.  It defined desperate and lonely to me.

I read that it's also known for its pristine air and brilliant star-filled nights.  I can see how that might be appealing.  Who doesn't like star gazing?

And I bet it looks a whole lot better at night.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: Urban Creep
2016: Ed's View
2015: Place Of Refuge
2014: A Story Told In Stone
2013: Eddie Sandwich
2012: Finally – Freight To Buzz About!
2011: For The Crybabies
2010: Chillin’ In Utah
2009: Taking The Peas For A Ride In A Cozy Little Shell
2008: Wyth Jane’s Kin In Wytheville
2007: Color In Architecture
2006: Living On
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

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