History of Palm Springs

Palm Springs is an incredible vacation destination famous for its beautiful views and sunny skies! But, there is so much more to learn. This area has a long and interesting history.

Discover the History

By Lindsey Stafford

Palm Springs lies within the Colorado Desert in Southern California and is rich in history and culture. Prior to the area becoming a Vacation Oasis, the area was home to the Cahuilla people with some archaeological evidence pointing to the first Native people arriving over 5,000 years ago. They developed into communities in the Palm, Tahquitz, Murray, and Chino Canyons of the nearby mountain range and some traces of the communities still exist. The water supply in these canyons allowed the tribes to thrive by planting melons, squash and corn. A hike through any of the canyons today will showcase petroglyphs, house pits and mortar holes used by the Native people. The Cahuilla name for the area was Sec-he (the sound of boiling water) because there is a natural hot mineral spring that lies below the area. This area was sacred to the ancient people and was the center of tribal life. It was a place to heal and pray. The Agua Caliente Reservation was established in 1876 by the United States government over 31,500 acres in a checkerboard pattern.


Spanish and Mexican explorers began trekking across the area in the 17 and 1800’s. The Spanish explorers called the area La Palma de la Mano de Dios (The Palm of God’s Hand). After gaining independence from Spain, Mexican expeditions entered the Palm Springs area and called the Native’s oasis Agua Caliente.


In the early 1900’s, Palm Springs began to form into the resort destination it is today. The first residents arrived due to health reasons that required a hot, dry climate. Through the 1020’s, hotel and resorts were built and in the 1930’s, Palm Springs became the Number 1 getaway for Hollywood stars for the seclusion and it was nicknamed “Hollywood’s Playground”. From there, estates were built, golf and tennis clubs were opened, night clubs and casinos popped up. By the 1970’s, Palm Springs was well on its way to becoming the year-round community it is today and continues to prosper.


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Lindsey Stafford

CA DRE# 02182333

Windermere Desert Properties