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How to see the historic trees of Glendale Community College


If you want to time-travel, and see trees that were planted over 100 years ago, all you have to do is to go to Glendale Community College, at 59th Avenue and Olive. They march right through the center of campus. They were originally along the driveway to the Sahuaro Ranch, which is just north of the school, and were moved into their current position when the campus was built, in 1965. But you can do more than that - you can see the original trees in their original position. Come along with me.

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By the way, these aren't the common palm trees that you see everywhere, like the ones on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. These are California Fan Palms and those are Mexican Fan Palms. Technically, they're Washingtonia filiferas, not Washingtonia robustas. And when places like Phoenix, and Los Angeles, started planting robustas, filferas pretty much disappeared. And you really can't blame them, robustas (as the name implies) grow much faster, and stronger. They don't live as long, which is why the robustas planted on Palm Walk at ASU just died recently. Filferas live a long time!

OK, enough nerdy palm tree talk. And as much as I like palm trees, I'm darned if I can really recognize the difference between a filfera and a robusta. Filferas tend to be thicker, and they grow slower and live longer. And the only reason that I know that these are filferas is that my palm tree experts have told me, and besides, that's what would have been planted back when the Sahuaro Ranch was fairly new, well over 100 years ago.

The historic palm trees in their original position, at the northeast corner of the Glendale Community College north parking lot.

Walk with me. The best way to do this is to park in the south parking lot of Glendale Community College, just west of 59th Avenue and Olive, over by the Admissions Building, where there's visitor's parking. Then walk north straight through the center of campus. Those are the trees that were moved into place when the campus was built. Now keep walking to the north parking lot. Keep walking to the far northeast corner, over by the garbage area. Yeah, this is an area that most people never go to. When they moved the trees in 1965, they found that they had enough for the main campus, so they left these in the same place where they've been now for over 100 years.

Exact location of the historic palm trees on the campus of Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona.

I was there this morning, and I've been going over there for many years. Don't worry about getting in anyone's way, no one uses that entrance. There's a sidewalk to it, and then it just becomes gravel, and weeds. It was the original entrance from Olive to the Sahuaro Ranch house, and the palm trees were planted to guide the way. They were also planted, like the rose garden, for beauty.

The historic palm trees, in their original position, between the Glendale Community College and the Sahuaro Ranch. Northeast corner of the north parking lot, near 59th Avenue and Mountain View, between Peoria and Olive. You're looking north.