Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Winterhaven in Imperial County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Plank Road

1914 - 1927

 
 
Plank Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
1. Plank Road Marker
Inscription. This unique plank road seven miles long was the only mens early motorists had for crossing the treacherous Imperial Sand Dunes. The eight by twelve foot sections were moved with a team of horses whenever the shifting sands covered portions of the road. Double sections were placed at intervals to permit vehicles to pass.
 
Erected 1971 by State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Imperial Valley Pioneer Association. (Marker Number 845.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 32° 42.618′ N, 114° 55.388′ W. Marker is near Winterhaven, California, in Imperial County. Marker is on Grays Well Road, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Access Grays Well Road from Interstate 8 using Exit 158. Marker is in this post office area: Winterhaven CA 92283, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named The Plank Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Obregon (approx. 9 miles away); Site of Camp Pilot Knob (approx. 10.2 miles away); Mormon Battalion Crossing / Colorado River Crossing
Plank Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
2. Plank Road Marker
(approx. 11.7 miles away in Arizona); Tumco (approx. 12.4 miles away).
 
Categories. ExplorationMan-Made FeaturesRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
3. Plank Road
Plank Road Replica (1916-1926) image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
4. Plank Road Replica (1916-1926)
This shows how the Plank Road looked when it was first laid in the desert sands over seventy years ago. Individual segments were pre-assembled and designed to fit together in a tongue and groove fashion.

Replica built by E Clampus Vitus, Squibob Chapter.
Materials provided ... California OHV Green Sticker Grant.
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
5. Plank Road
The Plank Road represents a glimpse into the pioneer spirit which helped settle Imperial Valley. Used from 1916 to 1926, this wooden road was important for early economic development and growth of Imperial County. It provided early motor vehicles with the only access across the treacherous Imperial Sand Dunes. This road is the last of three attempts to bridge the desert sands. The Plank Road was built in moveable 12 foot sections. This approach eased the problems of shifting dunes. The road was simply moved by teams of horses when buried or undercut.

The Plank Road is an extremely rare historic site. This is probably the only one of its kind existing today. This segment was saved by a cooperative effort by the Imperial Valley Pioneer Society, California Off Raod Vehicle Association, and The Bureau of Land Management.

Help protect this historic resource. it's a legacy for future Americans.

Funding for this sign donated by E Clampus Vitus, Squibob Chapter. Additional Plank Road information can be obtained at the BLM Office, El Centro, California.
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
6. Plank Road
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
7. Plank Road
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Chris Bell, March 22, 2008
8. Plank Road
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Merle Porter - Royal Pictures. Colton, California, circa 1950's
9. Plank Road
[This postcard image shows how the road appeared in the 1950's. Description on postcard reads:]
Plank Road
This road was built in 1914 and followed the contours of the shifting sand hills. It was over these hills that De Anza - the first white man to have crossed the Colorado Desert - made his way in 1774. This was the trail that the Butterfield Stage used along with explorers, trappers, traders, and others going to California. Because of the hostility of Yuma Indians, some of the travelers bypassed Yuma. Today a modern highway crosses the desert...M.P.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 712 times since then and 9 times this year. Last updated on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.   9. submitted on . • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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