Thursday, August 20, 2009

El Palo Alto

University Avenue at the Circle with train steaming toward El Palo Alto, 1894.
Photo Source: Palo Alto Historical Association

Landmark and Namesake Redwood Tree
The 1894 photo above was taken looking north in the Palo Alto, California area. 'The Tall Tree', formerly a double-trunked coast redwood that since 1887 has stood as a single spire, historically has provided a living landmark near San Francisquito Creek in Silicon Valley. Present-day railroad tracks cross the creek very near to the redwood that seems to be the City of Palo Alto's namesake.
(Excerpt) "Under this giant redwood, the Palo Alto, November 6–11, 1769, camped Portola and his band on the expedition that discovered San Francisco Bay, this was the assembling point for their reconnoitering parties. Here in 1774 Padre Palou erected a cross to mark the site of a proposed mission (which later was built at Santa Clara). The celebrated Pedro Font topographical map of 1776 contained the drawing of the original double trunked tree making the Palo Alto the first official living California landmark."
Source: A plaque at the base of the tree.