Palm Springs is a desert city 111 miles (177 km) east of Los Angeles and 136 miles (225 km) northeast of San Diego. As of the United States Census Bureau estimate 2006 the city population was 42,529. Golf, swimming, tennis, horseback riding and hiking in the nearby desert and mountain areas are major forms of recreation in Palm Springs.
People come from all over the World to enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs climate and scenery. Sitting at the base of the Mount San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs is known for its clear blue skies, year-round sunshine, spectacular landscape, beautiful neighborhoods and balmy nights with star-filled skies.
Whether you want to choose from the many activities available in and around the city, or just relax by the pool, you will never be bored in Palm Springs. Some of the many activities include: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which will take from the desert floor to the cool heights of Mt. San Jacinto, offering sweeping views of the valley below. There is hiking at the top, a restaurant, even snow in the winter. There are extensive hiking trails around Palm Springs as well. Tours of celebrity homes and mid-century modern homes are popular with visitors. Another great attraction is the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Over 130 hotels and resorts are available including mid-century marvels, modest bungalows, historic bed and breakfasts, private villas and condos and luxury resorts. Palm Springs is also home to fine dining, quaint cafes, and family restaurants with a variety of cuisines and price ranges.
Archaeological research has shown that the Cahuilla Indians have lived in the area for the past 350–500 years. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a tribe composed of several smaller bands who live in the modern day Palm Springs. The reservation occupies 32,000 acres (13,000 ha), of which 6,700 acres (2,700 ha) lie within the city limits, making the Agua Caliente band the city’s largest landowner. Significant to the real estate market in Palm Springs, many of the Condos and some homes are built on land leased from the Indians. The reservation land was originally composed of alternating squares of land laid out across the desert in a checkerboard pattern. The alternating, non-reservation squares, were provided by the United States Government to the Southern Pacific Railroad as an incentive to bring rail lines through the open desert. Tribal enrollment is currently estimated at between 296 and 365 people. In the early 19th century, Spanish explorers named the area “Agua Caliente” (hot water).
The current name for the area is “Palm Springs” which likely came into common usage in the mid-1860s when U.S. Government surveyors noted that a local mineral spring was located at the base of “two bunches of palms”. By 1884 when San Francisco attorney John Guthrie McCallum settled in Palm Springs, the name was already in wide acceptance.
The city became a fashionable resort in the 1900s when health tourists arrived with conditions that needed dry heat. In the 1920s Hollywood movie stars were attracted by the sunny weather and seclusion. Architectural modernists flourished with commissions from the stars. Inventive architects designed unique vacation houses, such as steel houses with prefabricated panels and folding roofs. Palm Springs now has one of the greatest collections of mid-century designed homes anywhere.
Palm Springs is noted for its mid-century modern architecture, a tradition that grew out of the aesthetics of the German Bauhaus and is reflected in the work of Albert Frey (who designed the Palm Springs city hall, aerial-tram (cable car) station, Movie Colony Hotel and airport), Donald Wexler, Richard Neutra, E. Stewart Williams, John Lautner, and others. Architectural preservation has become
A home developer, Alexander Homes, popularized this post-and-beam architectural style in the Coachella Valley. Alexander houses and similar homes feature low-pitched roofs, wide eaves, open-beamed ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Many restoration projects are being undertaken to restore these homes and businesses to their original condition.
In 1946 Richard Neutra designed the Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann House, a modernist classic. In recent years an energetic preservation program has protected an enhanced many classic buildings. Palm Springs architecture became the model for mass-produced suburban housing, especially in the Southwest. This “Desert Modern” style was a high-end architectural style featuring open-design plans, wall-to-wall carpeting, air-conditioning, swimming pools, and very large windows. While everyone could not have a classic like the Kaufman house, affordable modern homes, as the one shown in the above photo, were built by the hundreds, offering a unique indoor-outdoor living experience.
You cannot mention Palm Springs history without the influence of Hollywood. Hollywood elites found the ideal climate, privacy and the relative closeness to Los Angeles an ideal combination for a vacation/second home or even primary home location.
Palm Springs has a near ideal climate most of the year with Sunny, warm days, beautiful nights and low rainfall amounts. The following is a link to the Weather Channels monthly averages for Palm Springs. No matter where you are in the US, probably the weather is better in Palm Springs most of the year. It is the desert, so summers are hot. By the 1970’s Palm Springs tourism went from almost entirely seasonal to year-round. It is hot in the summer, yes. Some like the heat and it is a great time for the pool or enjoying the balmy desert nights.
Sites Of Interest:
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- The Palm Springs Art Museum presents traveling art exhibitions plus a variety of entertainment in its Annenberg Theater.
- San Jacinto Mountains
- The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies
- Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
- Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium
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