Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California

Desert Trail Buildings

On April 18, 1935—Volume 1 No. 1 of The Desert Trail was published for Twentynine Palms. The paper's founder and publisher William J. "Bill" Underhill, named his fledgling publication based on his recollections of the rugged, 40-mile, winding, rocky, and narrow dirt road he had traversed hundreds of times since 1928 when he arrived in the Twentynine Palms area to homestead. That first edition was published from Bill's "office" in his 1928 homestead. After two years of driving 60 or more miles 'down below' to San Bernardino, Colton, and Beaumont to set the type for and print his papers Bill felt the Desert Trail was well enough established to warrent a loan to build its own plant. Thus the first newspaper plant of our High Desert was built for $5000. That building, at 5770 Adobe Road, stands to this day.

First Desert Trail building
First Desert Trail building - April 1938
Located at 5770 Adobe Road

In 1945 Bill, feeling the need for larger quarters, sold the building at 5770 Adobe Road and moved to rented quarters in the Spanish-type building that was on the north-east corner of Tamarisk and Twentynine Palms Highway. This second building no longer stands, as it was demolished in 1976 when the Benton Brothers Family Center was expanded. (That building now houses the Rio Ranch Market.)

It wasn't long until Bill had designed a new building and contracted William Watkins to construct it. On January 15, 1949 open house was held in this new plant at 6175 Adobe Road. Today this building is Dr. Rachford's optometry office.

Desert Trail building
Desert Trail building - in 1952 & 1953
Located at 6175 Adobe Road

On February 12, 1951 the Underhills sold the paper to J. Buren & Laura Briggs. The Desert Trail remained in the same location until it again outgrew it's quarters. The Briggs had a new building constructed on the southwest corner of Adobe Road and Buena Vista Drive and in June 1954 the Desert Trail was again moved. In August 1961 this building was expanded with a 2,200 square foot addition, the street address was 6244-6248 Adobe Road. (This building is now home to the Peking Inn restaurant.)

Desert Trail building
Desert Trail in the Briggs Commercial Building - 1954
Located at 6244-6248 Adobe Road

On June 28, 1972 the Briggs sold the Desert Trail to McGiffin Newspaper Company South Gate (now called Brehm Communications, Inc.) The paper's offices remained in the Briggs building until 1975 when they were moved into rented office space in the building vacated by Desert Mode Dress Shop, located at 73569 Twentynine Palms Highway, where they remained until they were moved to the current Desert Trail Building at 6396 Adobe Road.

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