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How Los Angeles Became Known As A City Of Palm Trees

(Los Angeles c.1908, via Library Of Congress)

The palm tree has become a symbol of California and, more specifically, Los Angeles, but at the beginning of the 20th century pepper trees far outnumbered palms in L.A.

So how did this exotic tree become the symbol of LaLa Land?

It turns out L.A.'s association with palm trees wasn't an accident, it was an advertising gimmick crafted by Hollywood to make Los Angeles seem like a more exotic and fantastic place.

Combine the use of palm trees in advertising with all the old movies set in the Middle East and you've got the makings of Hollywoodland mystique.


As noted by Nora Mueller:

"the rise of Hollywood ushered in the city's aura of glamour and luxury. Many Hollywood films featured Middle Eastern locales, further imbuing Los Angeles with an exotic, 'dangerous' appeal. Just as the Victorians had allowed themselves to be seduced by their own constructions of Orientalism, so too did more modern Los Angeles residents fall under the embellished foreign allure of the palm tree."

Read The History Of How Los Angeles Became A City Of Palm Trees here

Want to be a multimillionaire when you retire? Buy some worthless land outside of LA. Plant date palms and provide them with a bit of water. In 40 years, each tree will be worth $50,000 and the date harvest will pay for the mortgage and water for the last 30 years.
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