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Classic “Saguaro falls on car” postcard

Updated 22april2016: the photographer Nathan Stodghill, has commented below and said the big cactus fell as a result of a storm! I’ve edited the original text to reflect this new (to me) info!

Looked all over the place for this classic old card, when our saguaro fell over crushing plants and shelves.  Today, I finally tracked it down, still in print, sold in our local Walgreens drugstore.  I don’t know why, but somehow it seems significant that the car’s plate is Oregon.  You know the old “We don’t take kindly to strangers in these parts…” line from a classic western movie.

Dang it, but if you look closely, the base of the saguaro, visible to the left of the car at the very edge of the photo, looks like it might have been chain-sawed.  I suppose this is just an early example of staged traumas such as are now so common on You-Tube and TV shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos… Per photographer, not staged a bit, but knocked over in a storm!

Still, I bet it made a big crunchy thump!

Photo © Nathan C. Stodghill, postcard distributed by Smith-Southwestern Inc.

Posted by Allison on Jan 10th 2009 05:43 pm | 12 Comments
| View botany,oddities category

12 Responses to “Classic “Saguaro falls on car” postcard”

  1. Brian Jumpon 06 Dec 2010 at 4:53 pm link comment

    I am trying to find this postcard! Do you know of a place online to purchase it?

  2. Allisonon 06 Dec 2010 at 8:32 pm link comment

    Brian — Unfortunately, I don’t know where to find this card for sale, reliably. I live in Scottsdale, so I occasionally see it in the tackier, umm, I mean more devotedly western-themed tourist stores from time to time, sometimes even in the local drug stores. I’ve also seen plastic keychains with the photo in highway truckstops. If I see any, I’ll let you know. Keep looking when you’re out and about the state. Good hunting!

  3. Tom Walterson 08 Apr 2011 at 10:17 am link comment

    I grew up in Mesa, AZ and actually remember that picture from the Mesa Tribune when it happened.

    The location was the corner of 60th Place and University Drive. There’s an empty lot facing University that abuts to the driveway of the corner house. The occupants would park there instead of on the street.

    The scar where the saguaro stood is still visible today.

  4. allisonon 08 Apr 2011 at 11:44 am link comment

    Tom, thanks for sharing your memory of this. Do you happen to recall if it was a genuine “saguaro plunge”, or a staged photo op?

  5. Tom Walterson 08 Apr 2011 at 4:20 pm link comment


    It’s probably impossible to ever know the whole story now, but my gut feeling is that it was probably real.

    60th Place is just east of Recker Road. The name of the development is Sunland Village or something like that and these were retirement homes built by Farnsworth Construction.

    There was a minimum age requirement to buy a home in this development, (I think it was 55 and up) so the occupants tended to be elderly and many of them were “Snowbirds” who only spent their winters here. (That’s likely the reason for the Oregon plates)

  6. Hanne Sommermarkon 22 Nov 2012 at 1:36 am link comment

    We have just received this wonderfull postcard from our son and his girlfriend, who live in Scotttsdale, – but here in Copenhagen we wonder how old the cactus is – perhaps more than 100 years?
    Does anyone know how old a cactus like this one is?
    Hanne Sommermark, Copenhagen

  7. Allisonon 22 Nov 2012 at 7:43 am link comment

    Hanne, yes, experts say that saguaros can live to be 150-200 years old. I don’t know how old the cactus in the postcard is, but it’s said that the giant cactus don’t grow their first arm until they’re about 70 years old!. Here is a link to some facts about saguaros (it’s meant for kids, but is still good info):

  8. Nathanon 22 Apr 2016 at 6:04 am link comment

    I am the person that took this picture and no, it was not staged. The picture fell after a large thunderstorm during the night.

  9. Nathanon 22 Apr 2016 at 6:07 am link comment

    Corrction.. the cactus fell after a thunderstorm!!

  10. Allisonon 22 Apr 2016 at 6:15 pm link comment

    Nathan — I’m happy to be corrected about this, and thanks for commenting. By the way, I’m hoping it wasn’t your car?

  11. Jon Schmitton 05 Jul 2016 at 10:23 am link comment


    I’m curious, do you remember the date this happened? If not exactly, maybe the month and year or even just the year you took this picture?

  12. Hilary slaughteron 07 Sep 2016 at 11:32 am link comment

    This card is sold in Barnes and Noble in Yuma.

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