Palm Desert National Bank breaks historic ground in La Quinta

Palm Desert National Bank breaks historic ground in La Quinta

Palm Desert National Bank broke ground last week for a new branch office to be built on a premier site at the southeast corner of Washington Street and 47th Avenue.

Construction of the 5,000-square-foot facility will initiate the first phase in completion of the “La Quinta Professional Plaza” development by McDermott Enterprises. The entire plaza complex will ultimately include some 53,000 square feet of office and commercial space arranged in 12 parcels. The five-acre site stands across from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Washington Street.

It was not the usual ho-hum groundbreaking. One of the area’s first local landmarks, the site was originally homesteaded by Manning J. Burkett in the 1900s, and several latter day family members attended the gathering.

Burkett’s 160-acre ranch was one of the three early land tracts acquired from the federal government located in an area formerly called Marshall Cove. Burkett brought his family there from Maine in 1917, leveled the sand dunes, drilled a well and built the area’s first windmill.

He constructed a home and began fanning row crops and citrus, while maintaining a string of horses. A finish carpenter by trade, Burkett raised his family on the ranch while playing a major role in the construction of key buildings, among them, the La Quinta Hotel in 1917 and later the Arabian horse stables at Point Happy.

The Burkett ranch was operated for five consecutive generations until buildings were finally torn down in 1996.

Designed in the early California Mission style, the bank’s new branch office will make a fitting tribute to the rich history of the site. The bank will dedicate a monument on site to the Burkett family.

Copyright Desert Publication, Inc. and Sharon Apfelbaum Jun 15, 2001

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