Welcome to

Twentynine Palms
The Action Council for 29 Palms, Inc. is a non-profit public art and beautification organization formed in 1994 to spark civic pride. Organizers believed that by bringing the community's rich history to life on the walls of our businesses, we could make Twentynine Palms a better place to live and visit.

From the beginning, Action 29 members have worked hard to ensure that each project is of the highest quality; even mural dedication ceremonies are punctuated with fireworks displays, band performances and inspiring speakers. The community has responded by supporting each mural project with generous donations. Their dollars provide the sole funding for each venture.

Mural sites become the focus of this tight-knit community while a work is in progress, with people dropping by throughout the day to chat with the artists. Many even take up residence on bleachers at the site to enjoy bag lunches.

So far, the project has been highly successful, with seven murals dedicated as of March 23, 1996 and at least three more per year planned over the next few years.

Those who want to become involved in this venture, either as the creating artist, as a sponsor or simply as an interested observer, are always welcome. For information on how to submit your work for a future mural project, or to receive a dedication schedule, please contact Action 29 via our Internet address at Collins Computer Innovations, action29@cci-29palms.com, by snail mail at 73491 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Twentynine Palms, CA 92277, or you can call us at

(760) 361-2286

Send Mail to Action 29

Nestled in the shadow of the Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms has long been a destination of visitors who are drawn by the splendor our wide-open vistas, crystal-clear skies and low-key style of living. Now, we hope you will enjoy our murals just as much. Please join us on this cybertour, then visit us for the real thing.

Mural #1: Bill and Frances Keys. The Keys were pioneer homesteaders who settled at the Desert Queen Ranch in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Bill Keys, born George Barth in Russia in 1879, came to Twentynine Palms in 1910. Over the years he was a cattleman, gold prospector, assayer, and an ingenious homesteader who could find a use for just about anything. Visitors who take a Park Service tour of the historic Keys Ranch can see that resourcefulness today. This 14- by 80-foot mural, located on 29 Palms Highway at Pine Street (Plaza Furniture), was painted by Dan and Peter Sawatzky of Chemainus, B.C. Dedicated: November 19, 1994.

Mural #2: Early Life at the Oasis of Mara. The life-giving waters of this lush palm oasis provided much-needed sustenance for Native Americans and early settlers of the hi-desert, and is still considered the original heart of Twentynine Palms. In this 17- by 80-foot rendering, Cahuilla Indians gather and work in and near the water, a Cahuilla woman offers the exquisite baskets for which the tribe was known, and first surveyor Col. Henry Washington and his assistant conduct a desert survey. Located at the corner of National Park Drive and 29 Palms Highway (29 Palms Liquors), this mural was painted by Ron Croci of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Robert Caughlan III of San Francisco. Dedicated: March 25, 1995.

Mural #3: Dr. James B. Luckie, "The Father of Twentynine Palms." Credited with populating this community during the years after World War I by sending veterans suffering the effects of mustard gas here for the pure, healing air, the Pasadena doctor became one of our most prominent citizens and founding fathers. This 17- by 50-foot tribute features Dr. Luckie flanked by vignettes of WWI soldiers on the battlefield and the physician treating a patient. The mural is located at 6175 Adobe Road (29 Palms Eye Care Clinic) and was painted by Don Gray of Flagstaff, Arizona. Dedicated: May 6, 1995.

Mural #4: Our Neighbors in Nature. Local flora and fauna are highlighted in this impressive 13- by 86-foot lesson in desert ecology. Those who have never seen a roadrunner or a coyote up close, or who want to inspect a cactus without threat of its thorns, have ample opportunity to study this view of our desert valley, which comes complete with a plant and wildlife legend painted along the bottom of the mural. Located on 29 Palm Highway at Desert Queen (McB Sporting Goods), this mural was painted by nature artists Larry Eifert and Nancy Cherry Martin of Ferndale, CA. Dedicated: May 13, 1995.

Mural #5: Desert Storm Victory Parade & Homecoming. The Marines first came to Twentynine Palms in 1952. Since then, those in uniform have unfailingly served their country, again proving their mettle in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When the troops came home from the Persian Gulf in 1991, more than 40,000 people crowded into the city for "The Mother of All Victory Parades." This 18- by 101-foot work by artist Chuck Caplinger of Hollywood, CA (who now resides in Twentynine Palms), is located at 6177 Adobe Road (Napa Auto Parts). Dedicated: October 15, 1995.

Mural #6: "The Flying Constable" Jack Cones. Twentynine Palms' most beloved lawman, Jack Cones will be forever airborne in this 16- by 60-foot tribute. Elected in 1932, he was the law here until his death in 1960. He earned his lofty nickname by patrolling his 2,800-square-mile jurisdiction in a Piper J-3 Cub. The mural artist, Tim O'Connor of Twentynine Palms, came to admire the constable after hearing stories of Cones' exploits while taking flying lessons at nearby Cones Field in the early 1970s. The mural is located at 6308 Adobe Road (the former 29 Palms Gemcrafts building). Dedicated: January 27, 1996.

Mural #7: The Dirty Sock Camp. Gold fever brought prospectors to the desert in the late 1800s. Men sought their fortunes near here, setting up camp where water was plentiful. One settlement was the Dirty Sock Camp, named for the method miners used to separate gold from mercury. They used chamois leather, but legend has it that if it wasn't available, someone would sacrifice a sock for the cause. This 14- by 40-foot mural was painted by artist John Whytock of Sugarloaf, CA, and is located at 73911 29 Palms Highway (29 Palms Thrift). Dedicated: March 23, 1996.

Mural #8: William & Elizabeth Campbell. The Campbells came to Twentynine Palms in 1924 for WWI veteran Bill's health, pitching a tent at the Oasis of Mara before homesteading 160 acres. There, Bill and his wife, Elizabeth Crozier Campbell, built an exquisite home of native stone, now a B&B called Roughley Manor at Campbell Ranch. Aligned with the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles, the couple scoured this desert for artifacts, logging thousands of finds including the 7500-year-old Pinto Basin site in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. They also donated land for Twentynine Palms' first schoolhouse and for Luckie Park. This 14- by 80-foot mural was painted by Los Angeles artist Richard Wyatt at 74017 29 Palms Highway (Break & Run Billiards). Dedicated: November 23, 1996.

Mural #9: Johnnie Hastie & The 29 Palms Stage. Starting in 1938, Johnnie Hastie provided public transportation from the desert to "down below." He built his first bus from a used 1928 Chevrolet truck, adding a wooden body, seats for 12 passengers and a sturdy roof to haul cargo. During winter a stove onboard provided warmth from wood that his passengers had gathered. When tires and gas were rationed during World War II, Johnnie filled endless shopping requests in Banning, hauling ladies dresses, restaurant and mining supplies, even live chickens. He also served as a courier for local businesses until the first bank opened in Twentynine Palms. When Johnnie retired in 1973, he had driven over seven million accident-free miles. This 13- by 32-foot tribute was painted by artist Tim O'Connor of Twentynine Palms at 73339 29 Palms Highway (Superior Automotive). Dedicated: February 15, 1997.

Mural #10: Frank & Helen Bagley and The Bagley Store. Homesteaders Frank and Helen Bagley arrived with their three sons on Thanksgiving Day 1927, when Twentynine Palms was little more than an oasis beckoning in the sun. They had filed on a 160-acre homestead, setting up house in an 18- by 18-foot garage, which soon became the town's first general store when local miners and homesteaders began asking them to lend out or pick up supplies. Outside they installed a gas pump to always be ready for trips "down below." The plaza, which grew up around Bagley's Market, soon became the social center of the community--offering food and sundries, gas station, post office, notary service, library, and the first telephone switchboard. This 12- by 100-foot mural was painted by Dan and Janis Sawatzky of Chemainus, B.C., at 5653 Historic Plaza (Video Connection). Dedicated: April 26, 1997.

Mural #11: Bill & Prudie Underhills and The Desert Trail. After serving in WWI, the urge to homestead brought Bill Underhill to Twentynine Palms in 1928. He helped build roads and the first public swimming pool, and was active in the first local American Legion Post 729. Bill's desire to help the community led him to establish a weekly newspaper--The Desert Trial. The 4-page inaugural issue was published April 18, 1935, and proclaimed Bill's motto "Watch Twentynine Palms Grow!" In 1941, Bill married Prudence Mason of Pasadena. Over the years, Prudie helped Bill with the newspaper, and together they built the first indoor movie theater, drive-in theater and roller rink. Bill was an originator of Pioneer Days and the annual Old Timers' Reunion, which was first held at the couple's home in 1960. Painted by Susan Smith Evans of Palm Desert, this 10- by 40-foot mural is on The Desert Trail building, 6396 Adobe Road. Dedicated: November 15, 1997.

Mural #12: Desert Gold Mining Days. Prospectors and life-long friends Oran Booth and Bill Keys were an active part of desert gold mining in the 1900s in the Twentynine Palms area. Oran Booth arrived in 1928 and filed a claim on the site which became the Wall Street Mill. He also prospected in the Gold Park area and later worked the Paymaster Mine, a gift from his friend Keys. In 1933, he filed on the 80-acre homestead pictured in this mural, where he built a cabin and hand-dug a well. Bill Keys, who came here in 1910, was a cattleman, homesteader, assayer, and established over 30 mining claims in the area that is now Joshua Tree National Park. This 8- by 30-foot, three-dimensional mural depicts life on the mining frontier of the forgotten gold rush in the desert. Created by artists John Whytock of Sugarloaf, CA, and Terry Waite of Twentynine Palms, the mural adorns the Chamber of Commerce building on Mesquite Avenue, in the Joshua Park Mining Town & Art Community. Dedicated: February 21, 1998.