At the time, the idea seemed almost unattainable to some, to the point that a newspaper woman nicknamed his project "Crocker's Folly". But Crocker would not be dissuaded - he secured the help of Palm Springs Desert Inn's co-manager O. Earl Coffman, a visionary pioneer himself. While the locals were quite enthusiastic about Crocker's plan for a tramway, there were a number of politically-caused setbacks. First Governor Culvert Olsen vetoed two tramway bills that had been passed by the California State Legislature, then the start of World War II put the entire project on hold.
However, the dream never died. In 1945 a new tramway bill was passed, and Governor Earl Warren also established the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority, to be headed by Coffman, with Crocker serving as secretary. Designs started to become reality in 1950, and after solving many engineering riddles and yet another postponement due to the Korean War, the $8.15 million project - funded solely through private revenue bonds and not taxpayer dollars - took shape starting in 1961. Because of the unique techniques used to solve the enormous engineering challenge of the project, it was dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The project was completed in 1963 and the bonds were finally paid off in 1996.
Today you can follow in the footsteps of over 20 million people and enjoy a completely modernized ride in the world's largest rotating tramcars, offering magnificent 360-degree views. You'll travel for 10 minutes up the breathtaking 2.5 mile climb from the Valley Station's 2,643 ft. elevation to the Mountain Station at 8,516 ft., where you'll discover a whole new world to explore.
There are so many things you can do once you reach the top: the pristine wilderness offers hiking trails, camping, and winter adventures; you can also enjoy restaurants with scenic views, a natural history museum, observation decks, two documentary theaters and more. Temperatures at the peak are generally about 30 degrees cooler than at the valley floor, so bring a light jacket - and don't forget your camera!
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