Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California
Did you ever wonder why there is no hyphen in the Twentynine of our town's name? The following editorial published in The Desert Trail, on June 24, 1938 (page 2, column 1) provides the answer.
We're Changing the Name of Twentynine Palms in Accordance With P. O. Ruling
Change the name of Twenty-Nine Palms? Never! But if we are to abide by the decision of the United States Post Office department, we'll have to refrain from using the hyphen "-" and the Capital "N" in the name as selected by a group of Chamber of Commerce members here in the early homesteading era.
The name "29 Palms" dates back to 1855, when Colonel Henry Washington surveyed this area for the government, and so designated the place on his maps and field notes. The name was derived from the native Washingtonia palms, 29 of which were growing at the oasis at that time.
This name was followed throughout the mining boom days and on up to the era of homesteading which started about 12 years ago.
When it became necessary for the citizens to receive mail here, the "29 Palms" address was confusing to mail clerks and authorities since the place was virtually unknown within the postal system. Continuously mail reached here as having been missent to "Box 29, Palms California," as well as being miscarried to many other cities and towns, part of whose names had to do with "Palm" or "Palms."
The idea of changing the name, "29 Palms" to "Twenty-Nine Palms" was born of the oldest organization here, the then newly-organized Chamber of Commerce Their object was to relieve the confusion in the mailing system and yet retain the romantic and distinctive name so appropriate for what was even at that early period sensed as bound to become an alluring desert retreat
The name Twenty-Nine Palms for the past decade has been generally accepted until a recent notification from the postmaster-general to Postmaster Benj. H Steeg, that his office should correct the spelling of the name of his community, since it was recorded in the official guide of the postal department in Washington, D. C., as "Twentynine Palms." The Post Office department, it is under stood, will not accept an address of a city or town with three names, and it is the contention of the department that the hyphenated name, "Twenty-Nine Palms," is of three words.
Since inauguration of the Desert Trail we have practiced spelling the name as "Twenty-Nine Palms," but in a spirit of cooperation and our willingness to abide by the decision of the powers that be, we will hereafter drop the hyphen and capital "N" and hereby urgently request our readers and business associates to do likewise.
Frequently we receive letters from our subscribers who comment on and admire the large Chamber of Commerce "29 Palms", sign on the highway at the Junction in Devil's Garden. Several have offered the suggestion that we urge the adoption of the name "29 Palms" for our community, which all agree is rapidly becoming a community of distinction and recognition.
To those ardent boosters and supporters of Twenty-nine Palms we are highly appreciative of their suggestions, but as above stated we will now cooperate with the postal department in recognizing the official name.
In behalf of the sign committee of the local Chamber of Commerce, it is pointed out that they adopted the colorful scroll painting of "29 Palms" for the benefit of passing motorists, realizing that to spell the name out would not be so discernible, therefore losing the advertising value of the artistic highway sign calling attention to our community.
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