Palm to Pine December 27, 2006Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, NOLA.
Tags: Detroit Lakes, Jefferson Highway, Minnesota, Palm to Pine
Here is a weird bit of synchronicity I discovered just a few blocks from my new office in downtown New Orleans. It’s a marker erected in 1917 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to mark the southern terminus of the Jefferson Highway. As the post points out, the road once stretched from New Orleans to Winnipeg, Canada.
During my exile from New Orleans, I first settled in the upper midwest in a town called Detroit Lakes, MN, a sometimes sleepy little town an hour east of Fargo, N.D. It’s population would settle down to a quiet 7,000 or so but blossom into the tens of thousands during the busiest weekends of the summer lake season. One feature of that season was the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament, a name that always struck me as odd but which I never looked into, as I have no real interest in golf.
I have to assume that the name must come from the New Orleans-to-Winnipeg Highway. Growing up in New Orleans, Jefferson Highway was just an aging suburban strip of asphalt, an old Federal highway along the tracks that I thought was named after the suburban Jefferson Parish it traversed. Not until I returned home after 20 years away did I discover this pillar, which has been sitting at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Common Street waiting for me to discover it and feel the odd twinge of connection. I stood at the terminus of a road that ran only 100 miles from Detroit Lakes almost a century ago. Winnipeg was close to my home in Fargo as Lafayette is to New Orleans.