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FutureStarrLos Angeles palm trees
The most famous palm trees of Los Angeles were created nearly 100 years ago in a vacant city lot near the Pike Studio, which produced hundreds of movies including movies with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Now, the "Pike Palms" have come full circle. They have been brought back to their original history, as the location of a Snoop Dogg music video. "We're going to create these as part of our Snoop project," he said.
Anyway, palms took off as a symbol of wealth, luxury, nice weather, vacation. The ease of growing them in containers meant that palms were found on luxury ships like the Titanic and Lusitania. Robber barons, fancy hotels, and magnates in San Francisco—a much older city than Los Angeles—planted them in “palm courts,” a sort of atrium/ballroom featuring lots of palms and probably a string quartet.They are, in fact, taller than most buildings in Los Angeles. The city has always been a sprawling, low-slung city, with few buildings over two stories tall. It spread horizontally rather than vertically, partially due to the cheap abundant land and partially because Los Angeles was always an automotive city. Unlike in other cities, the great skyscrapers of Los Angeles are not huge buildings: they’re trees.Once the palms were firmly ensconced in Los Angeles, the movie and TV industry popularized them. The palms, despite not being native to LA and in fact only having recently arrived there, became the most iconic image of the city. Every awards show, every red carpet, every movie and show shot in Southern California included palm trees.
The city expanded like crazy; the population went from 11,000 in 1880 to over 1.2 million only 50 years later. Urban trees do actually have jobs, besides just looking nice: they provide shade, reduce heat, clean the air, some prevent erosion, and some produce an edible or useful material. Palms in Los Angeles do not do any of this. Their job was not to be good urban trees; it was to create an image of a new kind of city and convince people from elsewhere to come to Los Angeles. They succeeded at that! But with the first batch of trees now dying out due to old age and an array of pests and diseases, Los Angeles is making some changes. Replacement palms are more likely to be more drought-tolerant and provide more shade, like the Chilean palm. But, says Farmer, Los Angeles is not likely to ever let palms completely vanish. (Source: www.atlasobscura.com)