Tuesday, January 10, 2012

History of Palm Springs

History of Palm Springs CaliforniaPalm Springs, California, (population 47,250) draws its name from natural hot springs. For centuries the area around today’s city was the home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The first non-Indian visitors arrived in the late 19th century. Lured by the promise of improved health, the early settlers established many small hotels and inns.

McCallum AdobeBy the 1930s, Palm Springs had acquired a reputation as a winter spa retreat and playground for Hollywood stars and the wealthy. Exclusive older neighborhoods such as old Las Palmas, the Movie Colony, and the Tennis Club quarter are associated with this period. In the post-World War II era, the city’s Hollywood association continued to attract visitors. Tourism, resorts, golfing, and tennis fueled the economy.

Throughout the post-war period, a talented band of “desert modern” architects designed an extraordinary collection of civic and commercial buildings. Residential construction boomed in the late 1950s when large tracts of reasonably priced modernist homes were built.

The city of Palm Springs has derived enormous cultural cachet from being recognized as the world’s “Mecca of modernism.” The city’s midcentury modern architecture appeals to a niche market of tourists who travel from around the world to enjoy the city’s rich legacy. An annual “Modernism Week,” which drew 5,600 visitors in 2008, has included tours of architecturally significant buildings, a film on the history and architecture of a local neighborhood, lectures, a trade show featuring decorative and fine art dealers, and even a design contest that sought to address many of the city’s controversial development issues.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is housed in several of the city’s early historic buildings, including the Miss Cornelia White “Little House” (1893) and the McCallum Adobe (1884). The society cares for artifacts and an extensive photographic archive.

Each year, the society sponsors a Pioneer Picnic, a tradition that started in 1955. Originally known at the “Founders Picnic,” it celebrates the contributions and stories of those who arrived before 1924. While this event once featured anecdotal talks about the formative years of the city by the early settlers, the event is now attended by their descendents and others interested in the history of Palm Springs. In recent years, the event has had an annual theme, including the stories of World War II veterans and the contributions of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Palm Springs Aerial Tram
For a great day trip, plan to take the Palm Springs Tramway. This climbs to 5873 feet in the San Jacinto mountains (Mt. San Jacinto), and offers a spectacular ride and views.

There is a state park at the top with snowshoeing, hiking, and overnight camping available. Also, there is a cafe with great spots to relax and enjoy the view.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Palm Springs Living: Desert Cities Scenic Driving Tour

Palm SpringsThis scenic driving tour climbs from the desert through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, before descending again to the desert. The route passes through a series of areas preserved for animal habitat, ranging from desert oasis to snow-capped mountains, and parts of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and San Bernardino National Forest. Drivers can pull off the winding and often steep road at a number of pulloffs or lookout points, each with habitat ranging from forested mountainsides with pine, oak and fir, to a reservoir, to arid brush- and cactus-covered stretches -- not to mention sweeping views of mountains and valleys.

The varied habitats along the Byway attract a variety of birds. Birds of prey including prairie falcons, bald eagles, and white-tailed kites hunt from the skies or perch in trees in various areas. The Santa Rosa Mountains host golden eagles and redtail hawks, among others. Lake Hemet on Highway 74 provides a home for great blue herons and Caspian terns. During the winter, it is home to migrant waterfowl including Canada geese and American white pelicans. California quail live in the surrounding area.

The Santa Rosa Mountains provides habitat for the threatened Peninsular bighorn sheep that can sometimes be spotted on rocky ledges, and for the desert slender salamander. More common wildlife inhabitants include mule deer, bobcats, great plains toads and western rattlesnakes.

Deer might be seen at almost any of the stops along the Byway. Coyotes, gray foxes, California ground squirrels and western gray squirrels may also be seen along the route.

The Bureau of Land Management's Visitor Center along Highway 74 offers information on the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway and on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument .

Along the sometimes steep and winding road, watch for pulloffs or scenic overlooks where you can take some time to watch for wildlife. For instance, the national forest's Cahuilla Tewanet vista point is wheelchair accessible, and offers a deck viewpoint with picnic tables and a 1/4-mile paved interpretive trail. (Use the "back" button on your browser to return to this page.) The arid surroundings are home to many lizards, and birds including golden eagles and pinyon jays.

At Indian Vista overlook on State Highway 243, wildlife amid the oak trees and brush includes mule deer, acorn woodpeckers, towhees and many lizards, including alligator lizards, western skinks, and coast-horned lizards.

Lake Hemet, a municipal reservoir and popular boating and fishing site on Highway 74, attracts resident and wintering waterfowl.

Directions: from Interstate 10 at Banning, take Highway 243 south through Idyllwild. At Mountain Center, turn left (east) onto Highway 74 (the Palms to Pines Highway). Drive east to Palm Desert. Continue on Highway 74 to rejoin Interstate 10 at Cathedral City, or turn left (west) on Highway 111 to go through Palm Springs before rejoining I-10. Or from Palm Springs, take Highway 111 east to Palm Desert, then Highway 74 west climbing into the Santa Rosa Mountain. At Mountain Center, take Highway 243 north to Banning and Interstate 10.

La Quinta Resort

La Quinta Resort

One of the best sites to visit in the Palm Springs area is the world renown La Qunita resort. This is a fine example of the elegant old Palm Springs, before the tourists and development of recent years. The resort first opened in 1926, and specifically catered to the stylish, well-connected, and well-to-do of the 1920's, 30's, 40's, and 50's, including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dwight Eisenhower.

The landscaping is unbelievable; come just to see the flowers, fountains, and grounds between the hotel and the villas.

Today the Greg Norman-designed golf course is used in the pre-qualifying stages for the PGA tour, and is consistently named as one of America's top ten golfing destinations in publications such as Forbes Magazine.


Palm Springs Scenic Overlook

South of Palm Springs about 6-7 miles out of town into the mountains is a scenic overlook well worth a trip. You'll climb a couple thousand feet, and there is a beautiful view of much of the valley below. Here's a sample.

From Palm Springs, take Highway 111 east to Palm Desert, then Highway 74 west climbing into the Santa Rosa Mountain.

Palm Springs Living: Rancho Mirage

Although the first modern settlements date back to the 1920s and 1930s, Rancho Mirage got its claim to fame after World War II. The Annenberg Estate or Sunnylands in the area had long been popular with the wealthy and powerful, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Mary Martin,Harry Caray and Lloyd Campbell and the Campbells. Several US presidents have vacationed here, and Gerald Ford was a frequent visitor who later bought a house. The Betty Ford Center is located in the Eisenhower Medical Center of the town. President Gerald Ford was living in the town at the time of his death.

Rancho Mirage boasts of 12 golf courses, also known as country clubs. The city's first golf resort was the Thunderbird Guest Ranch, opened in 1946 for entertainers and business clientele. Other golf resorts are the Tamarisk, Mission Hills, the Springs, Sunrise, KSL Resorts' Rancho Las Palmas hotel (opened in 1979 to replace the Desert Air golf and private airport from 1954-1978), Rancho Mirage, Morningside, Mission Hills North Course, Westin Hotels Mission Hills resort, and Tuscania by Sunrise Company opened in 2006.

The Agua Caliente Mission Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs runs the Agua Caliente Casino on the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road off the I-10 freeway, opened in 2002. The thriving casino is a popular destination for locals, tourists, and gaming enthusiasts, and the tribal board announced in 2006 that Agua Caliente Casino will include a 12-story hotel, two golf courses, tennis courts, a shopping mall, and a convention center-sports arena facility, but will break ground after a federal environmental report.

City of Rancho Mirage Official Website

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rancho Mirage, California".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Palm Springs

A verdant oasis in the desert of southern California, Palm Springs is a fashionable residential community and winter resort noted for its fine golf courses. In the city are parts of Agua Caliente Indian Reservation and a botanical garden. Nearby are San Jacinto (3,301 meters/10,831 feet), ascended to a point near the summit by an aerial tramway, and Joshua Tree National Park. Originally called Agua Caliente (Spanish for "warm water"), the site was selected in 1863 as a stop on the stagecoach line between New Mexico Territory and Los Angeles. It was developed as a residential community in the 1880s.

City of Palm Springs Official Website