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Stories from the valley

Hollywood North

Contributed by Jim Morris

If you see a lot of Palm Trees, it’s a good bet you’re in Los Angeles or Las Vegas. How about a two-mile stretch of road lined with Palm Trees? Such a road exists here in the Sacramento Valley, in the quiet Glenn County community of Hamilton City, population around 1,800.

Palm Drive Hamilton CityAfter seeing these giant trees myself, I wanted to know the backstory. Lifelong Hamilton City resident Wayne Gunter told me the genesis for all of those giant trees began around 1940. The James Mills family bought a huge amount of land in the area, setting up Mills Orchards. Encompassing an enormous amount of land and employees, this orange producer quickly ascended to become one of the largest farms of its kind in the entire country. To set their business apart, the Mills family planted hundreds of Palm Trees.

Mills Orchards closed after about a quarter-century run. What you’ll find along Palm Drive are various orchards, including walnuts and prunes. Yes, the Palm Trees remain, many 30 feet in height and some reaching 60 plus feet high.

These distinctive trees of Hamilton City occasionally show up on a photo or painting. They’re also featured in one other place- the local Lions Club has picked a Palm Tree as the iconic local element to include on their club pins.