Located just north of Joshua Tree National Park in California’s Mojave Desert, Twentynine Palms is a city characterized by three things: tattoo parlors, military haircuts, and murals. (Barbershop signs advertise two haircut options here: military and civilian.) Okay, so maybe there’s more to Twentynine Palms than what’s immediately apparent when driving through, but it’s obvious that this town is highly molded by the fact that it’s been home to a US Military base for over 65 years.
Ian and I endured the sunny 3-hour drive from LA to Joshua Tree for our fourth visit together this past weekend. Though we stayed in the neighboring town of Joshua Tree and spent most of our time in the park working on Ian’s latest camera test and a photo shoot for my new blog, we meandered over to Twentynine Palms before heading back to LA. We’d seen the welcome sign three times before, describing the town as “an oasis of murals,” and we’d seen a few along the main drag each time we drove through, but this time we sought them out.
We found 20 in all, though I’m sure we must have missed some. However, we saw enough for me to decide that these murals, along with the joshua and palm trees around, really are key in setting the tone for this town. What do you think?
You’ll notice there’s writing on many of the murals — accounts of historical events and tales of couples and individuals who once lived here. If you take the time to read them, you’ll actually learn a lot about how Twentynine Palms has changed over the years.
I hope you enjoyed this collection of desert murals. I think these paintings make it clear that the people of Twentynine Palms really value the preservation of history and a sense of community in their town. What do you think?