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Zuma "Tiny" Henry
Excerpts from February 11, 2002 Interview

I married Herbert Henry in our Texas town, Mineral Wells, December 26, 1940.


In March 1941 before Pearl Harbor, Herb was drafted into the military.  Then in the summer of 1942, he was transferred to Camp Young, General Patton's desert training corps, near here.  So in October 1942, I moved to the Cathedral City area, at the time a very tiny desert village in the Riverside County region.

Zuma "Tiny" Henry in front of vintage car in 1940s Cathedral City, CA

Zuma "Tiny" Henry

Broadway (Hwy 111), looking east in mid-1940s

Broadway (Hwy 111), looking East.  Mid-1940s

At this early time, the streets on the south of Highway 111 went up parallel to about G Street [now San Jacinto Road].  There was hardly anything on the north side of the road.  I'm not certain Cathedral Canyon (Drive) even had a name.

Mr Walter Melrose lived in a house that is now the El Gallito Mexican Restaurant.  He ran the 139 (gambling) Club on Hwy 111.  He donated land to the county for Cathedral City, which was on the south side of the road (Hwy 111) up to Terrace.  Melrose Road, which is on the western end of the lower cove, is named after him.

In 1944, with Herb in the military and overseas, I bought a house owned by the Colglazier family.

Add for The Date Shop in 1940s Cathedral City, CA

I owned and managed Tiny's Date Shop on Hwy 111 at Glenn Avenue.  Although famous for our date shakes, we served three meals a day.


The Chevron gas station was next to us at the corner of Glenn Avenue.  On the other side of the Date Shop, stood Cobb's Grocery Store with the lean-to Post Office.

Fountain Lunch cafe counter with servers and a baby in early Cathedral City, CA

Inside the Cafe

​At Tiny Henry's Coffee Shop, we sold dates, grapefruit, candies, newspapers and subscriptions and drugstore items.  We also sold some of Willard Price's books from the shop.  In 1946, I sold the shop to John and Ahmoy Rater and went to work in the first new Post Office.

Tiny Henry's Cafe & Cobb Grocery along Hwy 111 in 1940s Cathedral City with Tear Drop Trailer

On Broadway (Hwy 111) - Tiny Henry's Cafe to the left and Cobb's Grocery to the right

Our little town began to grow after the war ended (1945) and it's still growing.


A few of the people I remember:

  • Walter Bunker, the only plumber in town.

  • Esther Woods, eggs and live chickens and turkeys for the holidays, butchered and dressed as ordered. 

  • And, there was Ralph and Adeline McLean's Knotty Pine Cafe and Tavern. 

  • A Mr. and Mrs. Murphy owned a motel across the street and later sold it to Paul and Mildred Clark. 

  • Mr. and Mrs. Ben Scott owned Western Wear Shop.

  • Mr. Linkletter built the first drugstore.

  • And, adding some luster to our town, was Susan's Dress Shop, Brownies Men's shop, a dry cleaning shop and a beauty salon.

Knotty Pine Cafe and Tavern in 1945 Cathedral City

Adeline & Ralph McLean's Knotty Pine Cafe and Tavern

  • Willard Price, an author, and Virginia, his secretary-wife, lived on G Street.

  • Artist Agnes Pelton rendered beautiful paintings of the desert area. 

  • The hardware/lumber store was owned by Wilbur Larrison (Slim and Alpha Mae), later sold to Bud and Alene Rupp.

Willard Price, author, at his desk in Cathedral City Historical Society, CA

Willard Price

Rupp's Supply store along Hwy 111 in 1940s Cathedral City, CA

Rupp's Supply, Owned by Alene & Bud Rupp

​I was Postmaster for two years.  When I resigned, I worked for Mhoon & Mhoon Contractors.


Also in that year, Buster Tarr sold his Chevron Station to my husband, Herb Henry.  In 1948, Vernon Krings purchased the station from Herb, and we built City Auto Service Garage and Union 76 Service Station (it was NOT a self service station.)

Mhoon & Mhoon General Conractors office in 1940s Cathedral Ciy, CA

Mhoon & Mhoon Contractors

Vernon Krings Chevron Station with vintage cars along Hwy 111 in 1940s Cathedral City, CA

Chevron Station on North Side of Highway 111, across the Street from a Richfield Station.  Purchased from the Henrys

There was other business activity in the years following the war.  Van Linkletter had an orange juice home delivery service; Charlie Doorley had a dinner house and bar; Ernest and Ella Dorn had a motel operation; Elmer and Edith Colglazier were contractors. 


There was a place called Singh's Cafe.  The first bank, The Desert Bank, opened for business on July 11, 1949. 


Bud and Iva Mhoon built and managed apartments called Mhoon Manor.

Desert Bank in Mid-century Modern Style opened in 1949, Cathedral City, CA

Desert Bank in the Mid-century Modern Style.  Opened July 1949.

We built a gas station and repair garage in 1948, which was the first in Cathedral City.  In 1949, my husband Herb added the body shop to the garage, which opened January 1, 1950, and rented it to Jimmy Schultz.


Herb and I were the first customers at the body shop due to an accident we had in Arizona, returning from a holiday visit to Texas.


The shop was at the corner of what is now Date Palm Drive and Hwy 111 (where Carl's Jr. stands).

earth-moving vehicle in 1940s Cathedral City, CA
Inside gas station with vintage car and worker

Mr. Charlesworth owned land high up (south) in the cove.  He subdivided it into ten-acre plots.  My husband worked on his car at the auto repair shop.


One day, Charlesworth came in and said he'd sell us any ten-acre plot we wanted for $5,000.  My husband, as with most people, was not that impressed with land that was all sand and had large rocks everywhere.  (Oh, if only we'd had the money for those ten acres in the cove!)

Family in back of an old pickup truck out in the desert near Cathedral City, CA in 1930s


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