Historic palm and pine landmark to be removed in 2025

Madera County’s historic landmark on Highway 99 representing the midpoint of California will be removed due to lane expansion next year.

Madera’s historic The Palm and the Pine will be taken down next year. 

The landmark, which has been there since the 1920s, is expected to come down to make way for an expansion to Highway 99 to six lanes. 


The big picture: Caltrans plans to remove the historic palm and cedar trees that sit in the median of Highway 99 in Madera County in the fall of 2025. 

  • Highway 99 will be expanded from four to six lanes between Avenue 7 and Avenue 12. 
  • McClatchy reported that Caltrans plans to replace the trees with a new marker that will be more noticeable to drivers in place of the trees to mark the divide between southern California and northern California. 
  • According to the report, the new landmark will have 15 palm trees and 15 pine trees on the west side of Highway 99 in the same area. 

The backstory: According to Merced author Steve Newvine – who wrote a history of the landmark earlier this year on mercedcountyevents.com – The Palm and the Pine landmark stands in what was long considered the geographic center of California. 

  • The actual geographic center of the Golden State is in North Fork, but drivers traveling on Highway 99 have seen the symbolic separation between north and south for a century. 
  • While the monument’s origins are murky, Newvine writes that it is believed that the trees were planted in the 1920s to represent the midpoint of California. 
  • Caltrans planned to update Highway 99 in the 1980s and announced plans to remove the trees, which drew public outcry to save them. 
  • But in 2005 the pine tree was uprooted by a storm, with a replacement tree planted two years later. 

Photo: Historic Highway 99 Association of California

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