Thursday, August 12, 2010

theme thursday - palm

Wedged at the back of my refrigerator I found a bag of dates.

On our road trip last year we visited Dateland
According to Road Trip USA "Dateland, 25 miles farther east from Yuma along I-8, has a café and gift shop selling dates in all possible forms, including refreshing milk shakes."

It has an interesting history

Established in the early 1920's, Dateland Arizona was originally a water stop along the railroad lines. Back then, the old steam engines had to stop every 5 to 6 miles for water.

Located just north of the Mexico border on Interstate 8 between Yuma Arizona and Phoenix in the Arizona desert, Dateland was a welcome site to travelers during the hot summer. The irrigation pond substituted as a swimming pool on a regular basis to travelers that would dive in clothes and all. Temperatures here in Dateland can reach upwards of 120 degrees for about 3 weeks every year. And it happens during monsoon season, the only time of the year that we have any humidity. Imagine traveling during this time with no air-conditioning.
During the 1940's, Dateland Arizona was the site for two of General Patton's desert training camps, Camp Horn and Camp Hyder. In addition, in 1942, three airstrips were built here in Dateland for training B25 Bombers. Unfortunately, the airfields were only utilized for about two months. The buildings that were built for the airstrips were later used as part of an Italian internment camp. Of course, all of the buildings are long gone, but the airstrips, and many of the original foundations are still in existence.
At one time, there was a hot springs located in Agua Caliente, just a few miles from Dateland. It was considered an exclusive resort, and was visited by many of the famous movie stars of that generation. But, eventually, the hot springs dried up due to the tremendous amount of agriculture in the valley.
When Interstate 8 was built to replace old Highway 80, Dateland moved about a block north of its original location. The old building stood for many years, until it was finally torn down in 1997. All of the original pieces of the business still exist, the cafe, the gift shop, the gas station, the RV Park, and the Date Grove. The local community has grown a bit on the north side of the interstate, and we now have a brand new elementary school that currently has an enrollment of around 200 students.
Because of the hot desert environment, the military still uses the Dateland area for periodic training. Many of the American troops that are in Iraq, or who have been to Iraq, have spent some time training here in Dateland.
Local farming includes dates, citrus, cotton, shrimp, a dairy and alfalfa. Along with the restaurant, the gas station, and the gift shop the local businesses consist of a grocery store, a post office, a tire shop, and a local pub.
For three generations now, people have been stopping in Dateland during their travels across southern Arizona.

Dateland's location in the middle of the desert between Yuma and Gila Bend make it an ideal stop, but history and memories have made it a tradition!

People stop here in Dateland not only for the obvious reason that we are a convenient stop, or because they want to buy to buy dates, but frequently it's because their parents and/or their grandparents always stopped in Dateland and stopping here brings back good memories. Or sometimes it's because they or a loved one served in the military and they were trained here in Dateland. These visits are especially nice, because there is so much history and so many stories about Dateland that we don't know, and soon there will not be anyone to tell them.
(from the website)

Now there's a tacky gift shop and a small cafe selling subs and date-related foods. I had one of the famous date shakes and couldn't finish it - far too sweet for me. But I did buy a pack of dates. And here they are, still in my fridge, more than a year later. If anyone has a recipe for interesting things to do with dates, let me know!

old adobe mission with palms, scottsdale az


Austin said...

I have to say, a date flavored milkshake does not necessarily sound refreshing! Nice TT, very informative.

Brian Miller said...

oo the old mission is is really cool...a date milk shake...will have to give that one some thought...the perspective of that first shot is really cool...

Roy said...

Interesting. And I love that last shot with the palms and the adobe mission church. Good work!

Prayer Girl said...

What a fabulous historical Theme Thursday. But I too have to say I'm still stuck back at the beginning of your blog on - date milkshakes! :)


The Thirteenth Crossing said...

This TT makes me want to hit the road and go on a trip. Great information about a place I never knew existed. Happy TT!

Theme Thursday: Palm

Gladys said...

The date shakes are great but you have to share it. Too much for one person. How about the date candy rolled in crushed almonds? Love THOSE!

lettuce said...

date milkshakes


the flowers are gorgeous tho

actually, sticky toffee pudding is a good thing to do with dates...

Betty said...

sticky toffee pudding - good
dateshake - not good (sorry, Gladys!)