The Palm Springs and Coachella Valley region as we know it today was inspired by the desirable natural hot springs lining its rugged terrain. The ecological appeal of the area was exemplified by the agave plant, canyons filled with trees and cacti. After a government survey and a tragic outbreak of smallpox that affected the native Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians, the area was recognized as a new pioneer front. Plagued by drought over its early years, Palm Springs was able to progress largely due to the influx of high society visitors by rail.
Many of the Agua Caliente, (meaning “Hot Water” referencing the natural hot springs), worked as train laborers and helped to grow the Southern Pacific Railroad which was established in 1877. The pure dry air, majestic mountains and ripe soil encouraged early settlers to stay. Jack Summers and John McCallum were early settlers who understood the worth of the area.
The Seven Palms Train Depot, Santa Fe Railroad, Union Pacific Railway and Sunset Limited/Golden State Limited trains all contributed to the progress of Palm Springs. During the 1940s, Palm Springs served as an important unit of the World War II air force training.
Over time, the city and its surrounding towns became recognized as the Playground of the Stars, with esteemed visitors such as Frank Bogert, Cary Grant, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Dean Martin, Liberace, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Zsa Zsa Gabor, among others. Palm Springs was once a place of gathering for a generation who enjoyed classic Hollywood glamour, the timelessness of a good neighbor, house parties, long suppers, socials and a quality shopping experience. The 60s were its golden age and Spring Break festivities came alive on Palm Canyon Drive.
In 1971, Amtrak and the overall train traffic to Palm Springs slowed down as visitors chose to arrive by car or airplane. Unfortunately, the vibrant Spring Break celebration was altered during the 80s due to a riot.
Tourists enjoy visiting the desert region to relax and rejuvenate at its stunning health and wellness resorts. Mid-century modern architecture, art and culture have put Palm Springs on the map. World class golf courses, luxurious spas, natural canyons for hiking, an international culinary scene, endless swimming pools and the largest rotating tramway in the world create the perfect place to vacation and stay awhile.
I love sharing the secret gems of our charming desert!