Palm Springs History
||In the late 1700s, the Spanish expanded their
empire throughout California and into the desert. Despite this
vast growth, the Cahuilla Indians, the original inhabitants,
remained in the valley and learned how to grow corn, squash
and beans by using the desert’s weather and soil to grow
and prosper their nation. The Native Americans stayed in the
desert until the mid 1800s when many died from a small pox outbreak.
During this time, the United States government began to develop
interest in the desert valley and sent William Blake in 1853 on
an expedition to this area. He helped create the first wagon route
through the San Gorgonio Pass, which allowed visitors to travel
to the valley. Soon after, Palm Springs was added to the Bradshaw
Stage Coach Line and served as a stop between Arizona and Los Angeles.
The Southern Pacific Railroad soon followed in 1877, allowing the
population to grow further.
Palm Springs became a town after Judge John Guthrie McCallum bought
land from the Southern Pacific Railroad and built a home in 1884.
His adobe still stands in the city today. During the 1900s, other
settlers quickly followed and Palm Springs developed all the necessities
of a city, such as a hotel, buildings, schoolhouses and a newspaper.
The town also developed its first golf course and other tennis courts
and a racquet club, already turning the city into a resort-like
town. The nearby town of Cathedral City also became home to gambling
This tremendous growth led Palm Springs to consider an incorporation,
which finally occurred in 1938. One year later, the total population
reached 5,300 settlers and 8,000 yearly visitors.
World War II brought some changes to the usual relaxed, tourist
atmosphere of the desert cities. General Patton brought his troops
here for training sessions, which completely changed the environment.
A hotel, El Mirador, transformed into a hospital to serve those
wounded. An airfield was also constructed, which would eventually
become the Palm Springs Airport.
After World War II, Palm Springs became a mecca for celebrities,
causing extreme prosperity. Hollywood stars such as Frank Sinatra
built homes in the area. Bob Hope was named Honorary Mayor. Presidents
Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Ford all visited the town.
Because of the desert weather, the golf industry flourished. In
1945, only one golf course existed, but today over 100 can be used.
Many of these courses are internationally famous and designed and
managed by celebrities. This sport has also brought sophistication
to Palm Springs, and many upscale dining and shopping establishments
As the town continued to grow, Palm Springs turned into a cosmopolitan
city, with many tourists traveling from all over the world to participate
in golf and relax in one of the numerous resorts. It has truly become
one of California’s top spots to visit.