El Palo Nuevo
The redwood tree has long been a symbol for this section of California. Native inhabitants considered an extraordinarily tall redwood tree that had two separate trunks to be a landmark and meeting place. This same tree was identified by Don Gaspar De Portola and his men when they selected a place to camp during their 1789 expedition. The tree was later named El Palo Alto and became the symbol of the city. This historic marker does not denote the location of the great redwood tree where De Portola's men camped. Instead, it marks the planting of El Palo Nuevo in 1969. This tree was meant to be a symbolic brother of the of the one-thousand-year-old redwood El Palo Alto. For many years, residents feared that the 1000-year old tree might perish, but it continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of local citizens and the city. El Palo Alto can be found by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
Backstory and Context
De Portola's mission to northern California had several purposes, namely to map and claim the area and establish a series of missions that would convert Native inhabitants to Catholicism. As the leader of the first land expedition to the area, he and his men created maps that named many of the geographic features.