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Palm Springs Real Estate

For thousands of years, the Coachella Valley was home to the Agua Caliente
Band of Cahuilla Indians. During the winter months, they established
their village around the natural hot mineral springs (current site of
the Spa Resort Casino). In summer, to escape the extreme temperatures of
the desert floor, the small band moved to the canyons where it was more
comfortable because of the higher elevation. Few had ever seen a white

In 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad completed its line through the
desert to the Pacific Ocean. A Congressional policy established that
every odd section of land for 10 miles on either side of the track
became the property of the railroad (a section was defined as one square
mile). The even-numbered sections remained the property of the federal

In 1884, Judge John Guthrie McCallum of San Francisco and his family
became the first non-Indians to settle here. McCallum, with the
assistance of local Indians, built a 19 mile stone-lined ditch from the
Whitewater River into Palm Springs bringing in pure, precious water for

Throughout the 19th century, various explorers, colonizers, and soldiers came
through the desert, but it was not until 1853 that the United States
Topographical Engineers mentioned the oasis of palm trees and springs
which they called “Palm Springs.” The name did not stick at that time,
however. After California became a state in 1850, various stage routes
crossed the desert, and “Big Bill Bradshaw’s” freight line began to stop
at what Bradshaw called “Agua Caliente.” The place was known by that
name or variations of “Palm Valley” until 1890 when Harry McCallum
referred in a letter to his post office address in “Palm Springs.”

Dr. Wellwood Murray, of nearby Banning, opened Palm Springs’ first hotel,
called the Palm Springs Hotel, which was conveniently located directly
across the road from the Indian bathhouse where his guests could take
advantage of its warm, curative waters.

In 1909, Dr. Harry and Nellie Coffman started their sanitorium, The Desert
Inn, which was originally a place for those afflicted with
tuberculosis. The Inn later became a world-renowned resort hotel
catering to the very wealthy, which included captains of industry and
well-known millionaires such as the Vanderbilt and Hearst families.

World War II brought rapid growth to Palm Springs with many new housing
developments and businesses. The Desert Museum opened its doors in 1938,
a public library was established in 1939 and the Desert Hospital opened
in 1951.

In 1938, Palm Springs opened the first high school in the Palm Springs
Union High School District, which, in in 1948, was combined with the
Desert School District to form the Palm Springs Unified School District.
Prior to this, high school students from the area were bused daily to
nearby Banning.

Other famed guests were FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Mayor Jimmy Walker
of New York, along with many other notables and celebrities. Even little
Shirley Temple learned to ride her two-wheeler on the grounds of the
Desert Inn. Palm Springs was now on its way to becoming a thriving

Palm Springs was incorporated in 1938 with Philip Boyd as the first Mayor.
World War II brought rapid growth to Palm Springs with many new housing
developments and businesses.

In the 1950s, about 3,000 sections of land were transferred to the Agua
Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. This created a checkerboard pattern
of growth, still evident in the area today. The Agua Caliente also hold
title to the fan palm oases of Palm, Murray and Andreas Canyons.

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