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California Trivia:  What's the story behind the Palm Tree and the Redwood?

The word "Madera" means, "wood" in Spanish. The City was originally named for its timber-based economy. Drive six miles north of the San Joaquin River on Highway 99 and you’ll notice an odd couple in the center divider: a palm tree paired up with an evergreen. Legend has it that this marks the divide between Southern California (the palm tree) and Northern California (the evergreen). While no one has been able to verify the origin of the trees, a public outcry went up in the late 1980s, when the trees were nearly bulldozed to make room for Highway 99. Cal-Trans relented, and the trees remain a symbolic reminder of Madera’s place in the exact center of the state.


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