Palm Springs Past and Present

Palm Springs Past and Present

Palm Springs Past and Present 300 234 Patrick Stewart Properties

The Historic Willows. Palm Springs Villager Magazine February 1948. Photo by Gail B. Thompson, Gayle’s Studio.

Last month we took a look at where Palm Springs is going, but, lest we forget our roots, we thought we’d take a look at where it’s been. From Native American settlement to thedestination in the desert, Palm Springs has certainly come a long way.
• More than 2,000 years ago– Palm Springs’ first residents were the ancestors of today’s Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
• 1886– Dr. Welwood Murray built the first hotel, The Palm Springs Hotel
• 1909– Nellie Coffman’s Desert Inn opened
• 1924– William and Nella Mead commission the famed architect William J. Dodd to design their desert retreat. Named The Willows, it is recognized today as one of the ten oldest historic sites in the city and has played host to persons of note from virtually every field of endeavor from the 1920s to today.
• 1938– Village of Palm Springs is incorporated and had already become world-famous as a winter playground for Hollywood stars
• World War II- The airfield, built to handle military cargo and personnel planes became the Palm Springs Regional Airport, which has evolved to an international airport with flights nationwide and to Canada.
• 1936– Southern California’s first self-contained shopping center was established in Palm Springs as the Plaza Shopping Center
• 1960– Palm Springs is covered by a Fortune article on the construction of golf courses in the Colorado Desert. At the time, Palm Springs counted just nineteen courses, whereas the city now has approximately 125.
• Late-1970s– increasing numbers of retirees moved to the Coachella Valley making is a year-round community.
• 1980– Renowned Modernist architect John Lautner completed the estate of Bob and Dolores Hope. The largest private residence ever designed by Lautner, the 23,000 square foot, architectural feat is a true Palm Springs landmark, sitting high atop the exclusive Southridge community.
• 2006– The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Palm Springs for its achievements in preserving mid-century modern architecture.
• 2011– Palm Springs voters approved Measure J, a revenue initiative to finance land acquisition and public improvements with the first phase of the Downtown Revitalization Plan.
• 2013– San Francisco-based Kimpton announced that they would build a six-story, 190-room hotel on the former site of Palm Springs’s Desert Fashion Plaza.