Paramount-"Hay Tree"

Date: March 11, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

PARAMOUNT-"HAY TREE"-HON. LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ (Extensions of Remarks - March 11, 2004)


Ms. LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, nearly 75 years ago, farmers gathered beneath the soaring camphor and depending on the weather and production level, set the price of hay around the world.

The Hay Tree, a 50-foot-high camphor, thought to be more than 100 years old-is considered one of the few remnants of the once-thriving dairy and hay industry that ruled southeastern Los Angeles County and Northwestern Orange County. From the 1920s through the 1950s this area was called "The Hay Capital of the World."

The Paramount Hay Tree has recently been named the latest historical landmark in California by the State Historical Resources Commission. It was the first awarding of landmark status in southeast Los Angeles County in 10 years. The Hay Tree joins 1,100 landmarks throughout California, only 11 of which are also trees.

According to the Office of Historic Preservation, an object must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for landmark status: It must be considered the first, last or only one of its kind in the state or region, or it must be connected to a person or group having a significant influence in California history.

The towns of Hynes and Clearwater-which would later incorporate together as Paramount-were the hub of the southern California dairy country and became the world's largest hay market. The alfalfa was shipped in from as far away as Arizona and Montana. Each day's median hay price was quoted in major newspapers as the national and international standard. It was under the Hay Tree-an informal gathering place for truckers, farmers and workers-that the representatives from the area lots would compare notes and come up with the composite price figure.

The Hay Tree still holds sway over Paramount's newest addition-Civic Center Plaza, and will be the focal point of the new Plaza and Botanical Garden. A small park, set aside as open space in perpetuity, will surround the graceful camphor, signifying its sentimental and historical standing in town.

Paramount's oldest banner, the Hay Tree, is one of California's finest monuments-it speaks praise without boasting and will be a blessing to all for years to come.