History of Palm Desert

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Located in Riverside County, California, Palm Desert is approximately 14 miles (23 kilometers) east of Palm Springs and 122 miles (196 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

The Cahuilla Indian farmers of the now extinct San Cayetano tribe were the first residents of the area.

In 1920’s, when date palms were planted in the area, the name of the city was changed from Old MacDonald Ranch to Palm Village.

In the 1930’s a few homes were built and lots sold in the area.

When World War II attracted General Patton to Portola Avenue and the Colorado Desert to train for African warfare, no one dreamed the area would one day be a world-class resort destination.

In 1943, residential development connected to Army maintenance camp began in the area. This site was developed into El Paseo, an upscale shopping district resembling Rodeo Drive.

In 1948, the Palm Desert Corporation began to develop real estate in the area.

In 1951, the city changed its name to Palm Desert.

On November 26, 1973, the community was incorporated. At the time, Palm Desert was a master planned community situated in the desert that once stretched from Palm Springs to Indio.

Today many celebrities keep homes in the area including Rita Rudner, the professional golfer Michelle We, Bill Gates, and the late film producer Jerry Weintraub. Palm Desert also serves as a popular retreat for “snowbirds” from colder climates in addition to permanent residents who are attracted to the area due to its affordable and high-valued homes.​


Read more at Historical Society of Palm Desert

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