Indio, California facts for kids

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City of Indio
City
Indio during the 1950s: Stan Sniff, a local date grower's booth at the annual National Date Festival and Riverside County Fair, selling dates which is one of the region's most popular crops.
Indio during the 1950s: Stan Sniff, a local date grower's booth at the annual National Date Festival and Riverside County Fair, selling dates which is one of the region's most popular crops.
Nickname(s): The City of Festivals
Motto: "The place to be"
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Country United States
State California
County Riverside
Incorporated May 16, 1930
Area
 • Total 29.189 sq mi (75.600 km2)
 • Land 29.181 sq mi (75.579 km2)
 • Water 0.008 sq mi (0.021 km2)  0.03%
Elevation -13 ft (-4 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 76,036
 • Estimate (2014) 85,633
 • Density 2,604.95/sq mi (1,005.767/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 92201–92203
Area code(s) 442/760
FIPS code 06-36448
GNIS feature IDs 1652727, 2410101
Website indio.org

Indio is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California's Colorado Desert region. It lies 23 miles (37 km) east of Palm Springs, 77 miles (124 km) east of Riverside, and 127 miles (204 km) east of Los Angeles. It is about 98 miles (158 km) north of Mexicali, Baja California on the U.S.-Mexican border. The word Indio is Spanish for Indian.

The population was 76,036 in the 2010 United States Census, up from 49,116 at the 2000 census, an increase of 55%. Indio was once referred to as "the Hub of the Valley", which was the Chamber of Commerce slogan in the 1970s—today the nickname is the "City of Festivals" because of cultural events held in the city, most notably Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

History

Railroad line construction east out of Los Angeles began in 1873. Trains were operated to Colton on July 16, 1875, and to Indio (then Indian Wells) on May 29, 1876. Moving on eastward from Indio, the railroad reached the west bank of the Colorado River opposite Yuma on May 23, 1877 (a village known as Arizona City prior to 1873). There was delay in getting military authority to lay tracks across the Yuma Indian reservation, and it was September that year before the bridge was completed so trains could operate into Yuma. The Southern Pacific Railroad was to have joined those of the Texas & Pacific, one of several railroads then holding, or seeking, federal authority to build lines from various sections of the country west to the Pacific Coast. But the rail-head of the T & P was at a standstill far off in Texas, so Southern Pacific continued building eastward. (A Historical Sketch of the SOUTHERN PACIFIC 1869-1944 by Erle Heath Editor, The Southern Pacific "Bulletin", www.cprr.org/Museum/SP_1869-1944/).

The City of Indio came about because of the need of a halfway point for the Southern Pacific Railroad between Yuma, Arizona and Los Angeles. The engines needed to be re-filled with water. At first, the-would-be city was called Indian Wells, but because of so many other areas already called that, Indio – after a Spanish variation of the word "Indian" – was chosen. After the railroad's arrival in 1876, Indio really started to grow. The first permanent building was the craftsman style Southern Pacific Depot station and hotel. Southern Pacific tried to make life as comfortable as it could for their workers in order to keep them from leaving such a difficult area to live in at the time. It was at the center of all social life in the desert with a fancy dining room and hosting dances on Friday nights.

While Indio started as a railroad town, it soon became agricultural. Onions, cotton, grapes, citrus and dates thrived in the arid climate due to the ingenuity of farmers finding various means of attaining water; first through artesian wells and later through the valley’s branch of the All-American Canal. However, water also was a major problem for Indio and the city was flooded several times until the storm water canals were created throughout the Coachella Valley.

Businessmen and women found this last frontier land of the continental United States as an ideal place to start fresh. Dr. Harry Smiley and his wife Nell were early residents and stayed in Indio after their car broke down on the way to Los Angeles and became people of influence and helped shape the area. A.G. Tingman was an early storeowner and first Postmaster of Indio, but also well known for taking advantage of miners as they headed to the mountains, selling at rather high prices. Later Dr. June Robertson McCarroll became a leading philanthropist as well as successful doctor in Indio. She was responsible along with the Indio Woman’s Club for pressing California into adopting the placing of white lines down the streets after she nearly got hit one too many times by passing vehicles. But even though these early founders of the city are considered pioneers, they still partook in the lifestyles of their friends living in such areas as Los Angeles. Indio established itself quickly and kept up with all the trends as they were brought in by the railroads.

By the turn of the 20th century, Indio was already more than a fading railroad town. Schools were built, the La Casita hospital provided medical services, and families established roots. This was the growth of a city, not just a railroad town.

By 1920, about one to two thousand year round residents lived in Indio, while it can double to 2,500 to 5,000 during the winter months and was advertised as a health resort for senior citizens and those with respiratory diseases and ailments in the rest of the 20th century.

Indio also served as the home of the USDA’s Date Station, a place where leading scientific research was taking place on the fruit that would become a major part of the culture of Indio. The station started in 1907 and was responsible for the ability of local farmers to better understand this unique crop and make the Coachella Valley a leader in American date crops. This also created a tie to the Middle East that led to the theme for the County Fair with the Middle Eastern flair.

Coachella and Thermal were soon larger cities than Indio, but Indio remained the “Hub of the Valley,” as it was called. With the burning of the majority of Thermal and the decline of Coachella, Indio grew again. By 1930 Indio was a thriving area and incorporated. On September 6, 1930, storekeeper Fred Kohler received the first business license in Indio.

Indio was also aided by the visiting soldiers from Patton’s training grounds in Chiriaco Summit located 30 miles to the east. However, Indio saw another decline as the valley’s population begin to move west towards newer cities such as Palm Desert. However, now there is a reversal in this trend and the eastern section of the valley is poised to once again become the center of the Coachella Valley.

The city had significant unemployment rates (in some cases over 20 percent) in the late 20th century and from the recession in the late 2000s. The rapid population growth fueled the city's present need for employment opportunities.

Geography

Indio is located at 33°43′12″N 116°13′55″W / 33.72°N 116.23194°W / 33.72; -116.23194 (33.719871, -116.231889). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 75.6 square kilometers (29 sq mi), 99.97% of which is land and 0.03% is water.

The telephone area code is 760. The city's ZIP codes are 92201 and 92203 north of Interstate 10. About 3 miles (5 km) north and east of Indio is the San Andreas Fault, a major tectonic plate boundary of the Pacific and North American plates.

Indio is home of Riverside County's eastern administration offices. Palm Springs had more people from 1955 to 1992, when the US census announced Indio surpassed Palm Springs and that title was returned to them. The official elevation of Indio is below sea level; the city hall is 14 feet (4 m) below sea level, as the Eastern half of the Coachella valley drops as low as 150 feet (50 m) below sea level (the lake shore of the Salton Sea is 15 miles (24 km) South of Indio).

Climate

The climate of the Coachella Valley is influenced by the surrounding geography. High mountain ranges on three sides contribute to its unique and year-round warm climate, with some of warmest winters west of the Rocky Mountains. Indio has a warm winter/hot summer climate (Köppen: BWh): Its average annual high temperature is 89.5 °F (31.9 °C) and average annual low is 62.1 °F (16.7 °C) but summer highs above 108 °F (42 °C) are common and sometimes exceed 120 °F (49 °C), while summer night lows often stay above 82 °F (28 °C). Winters are warm with daytime highs often between 68–86 °F (20–30 °C). Under 4 inches (100 mm) of annual precipitation are average, with over 348 days of sunshine per year. The hottest temperature ever recorded there was 125 °F (52 °C) on July 6, 1905. The mean annual temperature is 75.8 °F (24.3 °C).

Climate data for Indio, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 97
(36.1)
100
(37.8)
104
(40)
110
(43.3)
121
(49.4)
123
(50.6)
125
(51.7)
121
(49.4)
122
(50)
115
(46.1)
101
(38.3)
96
(35.6)
125
(51.7)
Average high °F (°C) 71.9
(22.17)
75.3
(24.06)
81.3
(27.39)
87.5
(30.83)
95.7
(35.39)
103.1
(39.5)
107.3
(41.83)
106.6
(41.44)
102.0
(38.89)
91.9
(33.28)
79.6
(26.44)
71.0
(21.67)
89.5
(31.94)
Average low °F (°C) 44.6
(7)
48.0
(8.89)
54.8
(12.67)
60.7
(15.94)
67.7
(19.83)
74.2
(23.44)
80.3
(26.83)
80.3
(26.83)
74.0
(23.33)
63.7
(17.61)
51.8
(11)
44.2
(6.78)
62.1
(16.72)
Record low °F (°C) 13
(-10.6)
20
(-6.7)
25
(-3.9)
33
(0.6)
38
(3.3)
45
(7.2)
59
(15)
56
(13.3)
46
(7.8)
31
(-0.6)
23
(-5)
17
(-8.3)
13
(-10.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.56
(14.2)
0.64
(16.3)
0.43
(10.9)
0.05
(1.3)
0.07
(1.8)
0.01
(0.3)
0.04
(1)
0.54
(13.7)
0.04
(1)
0.26
(6.6)
0.18
(4.6)
0.62
(15.7)
3.44
(87.4)
Source: NOAA (normals 1981–2010)

Nature and wildlife

Indio is in the Colorado Desert region of the Sonoran Desert. It is adjacent to the geologic Salton Sink and within the site of historic Lake Cahuilla of the Lower Colorado River Valley. Indio is an official National Bird Sanctuary, because of the seasonal bird migration flight routes that cross the town en route to the Salton Sea.

  • Geography of the Colorado Desert
  • Fauna of the Colorado Desert
  • Sonoran Desert wildflowers

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 2,296
1950 5,300 130.8%
1960 9,745 83.9%
1970 14,459 48.4%
1980 21,611 49.5%
1990 36,793 70.3%
2000 49,116 33.5%
2010 76,036 54.8%
Est. 2015 87,533 15.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Indio had a population of 76,036. The population density was 2,604.9 people per square mile (1,005.8/km²). The racial makeup of Indio was 46,735 (61.5%) White (27.0% Non-Hispanic White), 1,805 (2.4%) African American, 741 (1.0%) Native American, 1,693 (2.2%) Asian, 55 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 22,394 (29.5%) from other races, and 2,613 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51,540 persons (67.8%).

There were 23,378 households, out of which 10,522 (45.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,149 (56.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,578 (15.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,512 (6.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,654 (7.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 232 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,859 households (16.5%) were made up of individuals and 1,777 (7.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21. There were 18,239 families (78.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.60.

The population was spread out with 22,879 people (30.1%) under the age of 18, 7,247 people (9.5%) aged 18 to 24, 20,705 people (27.2%) aged 25 to 44, 15,793 people (20.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,412 people (12.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.2 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

There were 28,971 housing units at an average density of 992.5 per square mile (383.2/km²), of which 15,274 (65.3%) were owner-occupied, and 8,104 (34.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.5%. 46,780 people (61.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 28,307 people (37.2%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Indio had a median household income of $50,068, with 21.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 49,116 people, 13,871 households, and 11,069 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,840.3 people per square mile (710.5/km²). There were 16,909 housing units at an average density of 633.6 per square mile (244.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.4% White, 2.8% Black, 1.0% Native American, 1.5% Asian American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 42.0% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 65.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,871 households out of which 48.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.2% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.5 and the average family size was 3.9.

In the city, the population was spread out with 35.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 15.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,624, and the median income for a family was $35,564. Males had a median income of $25,651 versus $21,093 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,525. About 16.8% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Population growth

In the past quarter a century (from 1984 to 2008), Indio has grown many times its previous size. Indio handles unprecedented growth for being a select area of choice for thousands of new residents per year: an estimated 25 new residents are added per day.

City leaders and other locals are expanding city public services, including recreation activities, commercial retail centers and industrial complexes.

The 2010 United States Census recorded the city's population to be about 76,000 residents, but doesn't estimate seasonal residents (Indio may have 90-100,000 residents by New Year's Day). The current population estimate for Indio (as of 2016) is 91,000.

Arts and culture

Annual events

Because of the numerous festivals and special events held annually in Indio, the Chamber of Commerce deemed Indio's official nickname to be: "The City of Festivals." The Date Festival/County Fairgrounds is a facility that hosts various events year round such as music concerts, 4x4 monster truck rallies, rodeos or other special events.

Two major annual festivals are the National Date Festival and the Indio International Tamale Festival. Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is held each February at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, located on Highway 111 in the heart of Indio. Since 1947, this festival has celebrated the date fruit crop of the Coachella Valley. The Tamale Festival is held each December on the streets of Old Town Indio and holds one Guinness World Record as the largest tamale festival (120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2-3, 2000) and once held the record for the world's largest tamale, [over 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter and 40 feet (12.2 m) in length], created by Chef John Sedlar but that record has since been surpassed by another.

In 1993, Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice, booked a Pearl Jam concert at the Empire Polo Club in Indio and six years later the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was born. Since 2001, Coachella has been an annual event that has brought notable music acts to the desert, including: Prince, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Pixies, The Cure, The White Stripes, Jay-Z, Tool, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Roger Waters and several others. Coachella extended the festival to three days in 2007 and in 2010, organizers did away with single-day tickets, offering instead three-day passes. Whatever changes the Coachella festival makes, it continues to draw large amounts of concertgoers to Indio and the Empire Polo Club—a venue that Rolling Stone said possessed a "lush beauty... that made the desert seem very far away."

In May 2007, Goldenvoice, promoters of Coachella, started Stagecoach, a two-day country music festival held the weekend following the Coachella. Performers have included George Strait, Kenny Chesney, the Eagles, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Kid Rock.

In 2013, OC Weekly's Dave Barton described the arts scene in Indio with "seems to consist of Johnny Cash tributes, chalk art, camel and ostrich races, and Neil Simon revivals."

On April 15, 2016 it was reported that Goldenvoice was trying to bring together The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, and Neil Young for a 3-day mega concert known as Desert Trip to take place some time in 7–9 October 2016. It would take place at the same venue as the Coachella Music Festival.

Indio is also the site of the annual Southwest Arts Festival, the Cabazon Indian National Pow Wow, the Palm Springs Kennel Club's Annual Dog Show and Rhythm, Wine and Brews Festival at the Empire Polo Club, Heritage Festival at the Coachella Valley History Museum and the Family Motor Coach Association's Annual Western Region RV Rally at the Fairgrounds.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is located in Indio.

Points of interest

The Coachella Valley History Museum [1] on Miles Avenue in Indio, has a two-acre campus, which currently includes the Smiley-Tyler House, built in 1926, the 1909 Schoolhouse, and the Date Museum dedicated to the history and development of the fruit (the only date museum in the world), plus gardens and archives preserving historical artefacts of the Coachella Valley.

Indio Hills Palms, state park property, are native California fan palms that thrive in many locations but rarely in such numbers as in the canyons of the Indio Hills. Here, along a line where the San Andreas fault captures groundwater that nurtures the palms, is a wild parkland which is part of the adjacent Coachella Valley Preserve. The park contains some fine native palm groves that include Indian, Hidden, Pushawalla, Biskra, Macomber and Horseshoe palms. The nearest palm groves are relatively easy to reach from the trailhead and parking area 4 miles (6 km) north of Indio. There are currently no marked access roads to the property.

Indio's old town historic mural program

In the fall of 1996 the Indio Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to develop a Historic Mural Project to help revitalize the local economy at the time of the statewide economic recession. Several communities have benefited from similar programs, such as Chemainus, Canada; El Paso, Texas; and Eureka, Bishop, Needles, & 29 Palms in California, as well the famous Chicano Park mural to commemorate Hispanic-American life in Barrio Logan, San Diego in the late 1970s.

It began with a suggestion to start a mural project first brought to the city by David Hernandez, a former Indio city council member, after he visited Chemainus. Very little happened with this concept until 1996, when the Riverside County National Date Festival's executive director Bruce Latta and commissioned artist Bill Weber of San Francisco to paint a mural of the Taj Mahal on the Taj Mahal (Garden of Allah) building at the fairgrounds. At the same time, local businessman Bruce Clark, who was instrumental in promoting Historic U.S. Route 99 (Indio Blvd.) to its former status as the Main Street of California. He maintains a website on Historic Route 99 (http://www.indiocaroute99.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/). He brought the mural idea forward again, after seeing the success of a similar local program in 29 Palms. When Clark presented the idea to the chamber board of directors the idea was immediately recognized as something that could help the city's economy by encouraging tourism. Indio now has ten murals about the city on the sides of various buildings in old town or a water reservoir tank on Monroe Street.

Pop culture

Indio has appeared in movies, television and music.

Indio and surrounding areas was in the 1980 Mexican movie Johnny Chicano about Mexican tourists meet up a local Mexican-American.

The city's namesake appeared on a circus poster in a fast food joint scene of the 1990 comedy movie. A little league record-holding batter from Indio was one of the talented youth athletes on the intro of sports comedy movie Jerry Maguire.

Indio was also the site of an episode of Monster Garage in which a Ford Mustang convertible was converted into a lawn mower. Huell Howser's state travel show California Gold stopped by "Old Town Indio" to report on the city's older dwellings had swamp coolers for permanent residents to stay cool in the summer.

In addition, Visiting. . . with Huell Howser came to the 1997 Indio International Tamale Festival (episode #529) where he spent time eating tamales and interviewing various vendors and visitors at the Festival. He returned to the festival the next couple of years to serve as a judge in the Best Tamale Contest.

The Jackie & Bender morning show's Harry Potter E! True Hollywood Story parody mentions Indio as the town that Harry Potter is arrested in during a Meth lab bust.

Indio was a location for film, The Beast with a Million Eyes, starring Dona Cole and Chester Conklin.

An episode of the animated The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show titled The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam announces the upcoming second installment of the episode as Rimsky & Korsakov Go to Palm Springs, or Song of Indio.

Indio was mentioned 3 times on the Phil Hendrie Show radio comedy, once about the bus station, a car wash business and a grocery store that the host made jokes about his travels in the city.

ABC's Scoundrels is set in Indio and other Desert Cities' however, it is being filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Big 4 of thrash metal, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax played the first U.S. Big 4 show at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.

Comedian Peter Grosz mentioned Indio as the setting for his fictional story in the May 14, 2016 "Bluff the Listener" section of the game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on National Public Radio.

"Indio" is the opening track on the 2012 album 'Coyote' by Matt Mays. It makes reference to "some of that old fashioned California sin".

"Indio" was the name chosen by Canadian folk singer Gordon Peterson's environmental project album, "Big Harvest" (1989), featuring the hit, (big) Hard Sun, which was also covered by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. The name "Indio" came to Peterson in the California desert when he was driving to Mexico, and Indio was the last town he traveled through before crossing the border.

Miscellaneous

The annual National Date Festival's main attraction is the nightly musical pageant Arabian Nights in an open-air amphitheater. After the National Date Festival, a "SuperFiesta del Sinaloa" follows to honor Indio's historic ties with the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a large source of local immigration. A great amount of immigrants also come from the Mexican state of Michoacán, especially from the municipalities of Jiquilpan, Sahuayo and even from small communities such as La Lagunita and Paredones.

The Landmark Golf Club opened in 1998 and had the Skins Game for four years. It is now known as Terra Lago and includes the residential community of Terra Lago. There are golf courses in Indio: such as the Plantation, Heritage Palms, Sun City Shadow Hills, Indian Springs and Indian Palms. The Indio (municipal) Golf Club is the second longest par-3 executive course in the USA, it is the only night lighted course in the Coachella Valley and is open until 10:00 PM.

It has two world-famous polo clubs: Empire and Eldorado on the city's southwestern end that hold annual polo and special events. The Prince of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York were seen in the polo clubs.

The local electricity provider, Imperial Irrigation District rates are 30% less on their electric bills than neighbors to the west, under Southern California Edison. In 2001, Forbes magazine designated part of the Valley that included Indio west of Monroe Street (and nearby La Quinta, Bermuda Dunes and Indian Wells, all the way to Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs) as one of America's wealthiest areas.

In 1999, Larry Fortensky, one of actress Elizabeth Taylor's husbands, was arrested for drug possession near Indio. In the following year (2000), actor Robert Downey Jr. attended trial for drug possession (he was in Palm Springs) in the Larson Justice Center county court house with media coverage.

Sister cities

  • Mexico Mexicali – International Sister Cities program.

Also the city had a chamber of commerce relationship with the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Indio had city-to-city economic exchange programs with San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico in the Sister Cities International (SCI) program. There are similar inter-city exchange agreements with Lynwood, California; Farmington, Minnesota; and American Fork, Utah in the U.S., and officials from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games visited the 2010 National Date Festival to promote the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada area.


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