Palm Springs, California facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Palm Springs, California
Charter city
City of Palm Springs
Downtown Palm Springs
Downtown Palm Springs
Location in Riverside County, California
Location in Riverside County, California
Country  United States
State  California
County Flag of Riverside County, California.png Riverside
Incorporated April 20, 1938
Area
 • Total 94.975 sq mi (245.984 km2)
 • Land 94.116 sq mi (243.761 km2)
 • Water 0.859 sq mi (2.224 km2)  0.90%
Elevation 479 ft (146 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 44,552
 • Estimate (2013) 46,281
 • Density 469.092/sq mi (181.1175/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 92262–92264
Area codes 442/760
FIPS code 06-55254
GNIS feature IDs 1652768, 2411357
Website palmsprings-ca.gov

Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Coachella Valley. It is located approximately 55 mi (89 km) east of San Bernardino, 107 mi (172 km) east of Los Angeles, 123 mi (198 km) northeast of San Diego, and 268 mi (431 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona. The population was 44,552 as of the 2010 census. Palm Springs covers approximately 94 square miles (240 km2), making it the largest city in the county by land area.

Biking, golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and tennis in the nearby desert and mountain areas are major forms of recreation in Palm Springs. The city is also famous for its mid-century modern architecture and design elements.

History

Founding

Native American settlement

Archaeological research has shown that the Cahuilla people have lived in the area for the past 350–500 years. The Cahuilla name for the area was "Se-Khi" (boiling water). When the Agua Caliente Reservation was established by the United States government in 1896, the reservation land was composed of alternating sections (640 acres) of land laid out across the desert in a checkerboard pattern. The alternating non-reservation sections were granted to the Southern Pacific Railroad as an incentive to bring rail lines through the open desert.

Presently the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is composed of several smaller bands who live in the modern day Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass areas. The Agua Caliente 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. (Tribal enrollment is currently estimated at between 296 and 365 people.)

Mexican explorers

As of 1821 Mexico was independent of Spain and in March 1823 the Mexican Monarchy ended. That same year (in December) Mexican diarist José María Estudillo and Brevet Captain José Romero were sent to find a route from Sonora to Alta California; on their expedition they first recorded the existence of "Agua Caliente" at Palm Springs, California. With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the region was ceded to the United States in 1848.

Later 19th century

Early names and European settlers

One possible origin of palm in the place name comes from early Spanish explorers who referred to the area as La Palma de la Mano de Dios or "The Palm of God's hand". The earliest use of the name "Palm Springs" is from United States Topographical Engineers who used the term in 1853 maps. According to William Bright, when the word "palm" appears in Californian place names, it usually refers to the native California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera, which is abundant in the Palm Springs area. Other early names were "Palmetto Spring" and "Big Palm Springs".

The first European resident in Palm Springs itself was Jack Summers, who ran the stagecoach station on the Bradshaw Trail in 1862. Fourteen years later (1876), the Southern Pacific railroad was laid 6 miles to the north, isolating the station. In 1880, local Indian Pedro Chino was selling parcels near the springs to William Van Slyke and Mathew Bryne in a series of questionable transactions; they in turn brought in W. R. Porter to help market their property through the "Palm City Land and Water Company". By 1885, when San Francisco attorney (later known as "Judge") John Guthrie McCallum began buying property in Palm Springs, the name was already in wide acceptance. The area was named "Palm Valley" when McCallum incorporated the "Palm Valley Land and Water Company" with partners O.C. Miller, H.C. Campbell, and James Adams, M.D.

Land development and drought

McCallum, who had brought his ill son to the dry climate for health, brought in irrigation advocate Dr. Oliver Wozencroft and engineer J. P. Lippincott to help construct a canal from the Whitewater River to fruit orchards on his property. He also asked Dr. Welwood Murray to establish a hotel across the street from his residence. Murray did so in 1886 (he later became a famous horticulturalist). The crops and irrigation systems suffered flooding in 1893 from record rainfall, and then an 11-year drought (1894–1905) caused further damage.

20th century

Resort development

Hotel La Fonda, Palm Springs, California postcard (1950s)
A 1950s postcard publicizing one of the many hotels sprouting in Palm Springs during the early-to-mid-20th century

The city became a fashionable resort in the 1900s when health tourists arrived with conditions that required dry heat. Because of the heat, however, the population dropped markedly in the summer months. In 1906 naturalist and travel writer George Wharton James' two volume The Wonders of the Colorado Desert described Palm Springs as having "great charms and attractiveness" and included an account of his stay at Murray's hotel. As James also described, Palm Springs was more comfortable in its microclimate because the area was covered in the shadow of Mount San Jacinto to the west and in the winter the mountains block cold winds from the San Gorgonio pass. Early illustrious visitors included John Muir and his daughters, U.S. Vice President Charles Fairbanks, and Fanny Stevenson, widow of Robert Louis Stevenson; still, Murray's hotel was closed in 1909 and torn down in 1954.

Nellie N. Coffman and her physician husband Harry established The Desert Inn as a hotel and sanitarium in 1909. It was expanded as a modern hotel in 1927 and continued on until 1967. Coffman herself was a "driving force" in the city's tourism industry until her death in 1950.

James' Wonders of the Colorado Desert was followed in 1920 by J. Smeaton Chase's Our Araby: Palm Springs and the Garden of the Sun, which also served to promote the area.

Palm Springs pool 2015
The San Jacinto Mountains border Palm Springs to the west.

The next major hotel was the El Mirador, a large and luxurious resort that attracted the biggest movie stars; opening in 1927, its prominent feature was a 68-foot tall Renaissance style tower. Silent film star Fritzi Ridgeway's 100-room Hotel del Tahquitz was built in 1929, next to the "Fool's Folly" mansion built by Chicago heiress Lois Kellogg. Golfing was available at the O'Donnell 9 hole course (1926) and the El Mirador (1929) course (see Golf below). Hollywood movie stars were attracted by the hot dry, sunny weather and seclusion – they built homes and estates in the Warm Sands, The Mesa, and Historic Tennis Club neighborhoods (see Neighborhoods below). About 20,000 visitors came to the area in 1922.

Palm Springs became popular with movie stars in the 1930s and estate building expanded into the Movie Colony neighborhoods, Tahquitz River Estates, and Las Palmas neighborhoods. Actors Charles Farrell and Ralph Bellamy opened the Racquet Club in 1934 and Pearl McCallum opened the Tennis Club in 1937. Nightclubs were set up as well, with Al Wertheimer opening The Dunes outside of Palm Springs in 1934 and the Chi Chi nightclub opening in 1936. Besides the gambling available at the Dunes Club, other casinos included The 139 Club and The Cove Club outside of the city. Southern California's first self-contained shopping center was established in Palm Springs as the Plaza Shopping Center in 1936.

Pre-World War II Coachella Valley Resorts and Hotels
Name City Year Established Year Closed/Demolished Notes and references
Agua Caliente Bathhouse Palm Springs 1880s Present day Commercial use since the 1880s; bathhouse constructed 1916; site is now the Agua Caliente Spa Resort Casino, built in 1963
Southern Pacific Indio depot Indio 1880s Burned down in 1966 Contained a "rough resort/hotel"
Hotel and tent houses Palm Springs 1910s Unknown Operated by David Manley Blanchard (tent houses in late 1800s)
Hotel Indio Indio 1925 2004 (Burned) Opened by E.R. Cooper; had 60 rooms (40 with baths)
La Quinta Hotel La Quinta 1927 Present day Built by William Morgan; designed by Gordon Kaufmann; now the La Quinta Resort and Club
Goff Hotel Palm Springs 1928 (circa)
Pepper Tree Inn Palm Springs 1924 Also described as the Dr. Reid's Sanitarium/Matthews-Andrea-Pepper Tree Inn
Ramona Hotel Palm Springs 1910s Renamed in 1921 as the Palm Springs Hotel by the Foldesy family, although not related to original Palm Spring Hotel
Sunshine Court Palm Springs 1920s 2000s (Razed) Built by Dr. J. J. Crocker and used by golfers at the O'Donnell Golf Club
Hotel La Palma Palm Springs 1910s Depicted on Palm Canyon Drive in late teens/early 1920s; later became the El Ray Hotel, and then razed when Chi Chi nightclub was built in 1936
The Orchid Tree Inn Palm Springs 1934 Present day 45 rooms
Estrella Resort and Spa Palm Springs 1933 Present day Now the Viceroy Palm Springs; 74 rooms
Ingleside Inn Palm Springs 1935 Present day Original estate built in the 1920s; operated as the Ingleside Inn by Ruth Hardy; now operated by Mel Haber
Palm Springs Tennis Club Palm Springs 1937 Present day Area is now the Tennis Club Condominiums
La Bella Villas Palm Springs 1939 Present day Six Southwest-style villas
Desert Hot Springs Mineral Bathhouse Desert Hot Springs 1941 Demolished Developed by L.W. & Lillian T. Coffee; burned in 1947 and rebuilt
The Oasis Hotel Palm Springs 1925 Present day Built on grounds owned by the late John Gutherie McCallum; concrete structure designed by Lloyd Wright
Hotel del Tahquitz Palm Springs 1929 1958 Built by movie star Fritzi Ridgeway; had 100 rooms
Deep Well Guest Ranch Palm Springs 1929 1948 Operated by Frank and Melba Bennet; converted to housing development
Smoke Tree Ranch Palm Springs 1925
Monte Vista Apartments Palm Springs 1921 2005 Operated as a hotel by John and Freda Miller, and then their sons, Frank and John.
El Mirador Hotel Palm Springs 1927 (Converted) Had 200+ rooms; went bankrupt in 1930, bought by new owners; taken over as US Army Torney General Hospital in 1942; reopened as hotel in 1952; became the Desert Regional Medical Center in 1972
The Desert Inn Palm Springs 1909 1967 Built by Nellie Coffman; originally a tent-house resort and sanitarium, developed into 35 buildings and bungalows; owned by actress Marion Davies from 1955 to 1960; original building demolished in 1960; officially closed in 1953. Child actress Shirley Temple was a frequent and publicized guest.
Colonial House Palm Springs 1936 Present day With 56 rooms, was built by Purple Gang member Al Wertheimer; once known as the Howard Manor; now the Colony Palms Hotel
Welwood Murray's Palm Springs Hotel Palm Springs 1886 1909 Demolished in 1954

World War II

When the United States entered World War II, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley were important in the war effort. The original airfield near Palm Springs became a staging area for the Air Corps Ferrying Command's 21st Ferrying Group in November 1941 and a new airfield was built ½ mile from the old site. The new airfield, designated Palm Springs Army Airfield, was completed in early 1942. Personnel from the Air Transport Command 560th Army Air Forces Base Unit stayed at the La Paz Guest Ranch and training was conducted at the airfield by the 72nd and 73rd Ferrying Squadrons. Later training was provided by the IV Fighter Command 459th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron.

Eight months before Pearl Harbor Day, the El Mirador Hotel was fully booked and adding new facilities. and converted it into the Torney General Hospital, with Italian prisoners of war serving as kitchen help and orderlies in 1944 and 1945. Through the war it was staffed with 1,500 personnel and treated some 19,000 patients.

General Patton's Desert Training Center encompassed the entire region, with its headquarters in Camp Young at the Chiriaco Summit and an equipment depot maintained by the 66th Ordnance in present-day Palm Desert.

Post World War II

Kaufman House Palm Springs
Kaufmann Desert House, Palm Springs, by Richard Neutra

Architectural modernists flourished with commissions from the stars, using the city to explore architectural innovations, new artistic venues, and an exotic back-to-the-land experiences. Inventive architects designed unique vacation houses, such as steel houses with prefabricated panels and folding roofs, a glass-and-steel house in a boulder-strewn landscape, and a carousel house that turned to avoid the sun's glare.

In 1946 Richard Neutra designed the Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann House. A modernist classic, this mostly glass residence incorporated the latest technological advances in building materials, using natural lighting and floating planes and flowing space for proportion and detail. In recent years an energetic preservation program has protected and enhanced many classic buildings.

Culver (2010) argues that 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. As Culver concludes, "While environmentalists might condemn desert modern, the masses would not. Here, it seemed, were houses that fully merged inside and outside, providing spaces for that essential component of Californian—and indeed middle-class American—life: leisure. While not everyone could have a Neutra masterpiece, many families could adopt aspects of Palm Springs modern."

Palm Springs was pictured by the French photographer Robert Doisneau in November 1960 as part of an assignment for Fortune on the construction of golf courses in this particularly dry and hot area of the Colorado desert. Doisneau submitted around 300 slides following his ten-day stay depicting the lifestyle of wealthy retirees and Hollywood stars in the 1960s. At the time, Palm Springs counted just 19 courses, which had grown to 125 by 2010.

Year-round living

Greetings from Palm Springs - Palm Canyon Drive postcard (1950s)
A postcard of Palm Canyon Dr. through Palm Springs' downtown village in the 1950s

Similar to the pre-war era, Palm Springs remained popular with the rich and famous of Hollywood, as well as retirees and Canadian tourists. Between 1947 and 1965, the Alexander Construction Company built some 2,200 houses in Palm Springs effectively doubling its housing capacity.

As the 1970s drew to a close, increasing numbers of retirees moved to the Coachella Valley. As a result, Palm Springs began to evolve from a virtual ghost town in the summer to a year-round community. Businesses and hotels that used to close for the months of July and August instead remained open all summer. As commerce grew, so too did the number of families with children.

The recession of 1973–1975 affected Palm Springs as many of the wealthy residents had to cut back on their spending. Later in the 1970s numerous Chicago mobsters invested $50 million in the Palm Springs area, buying houses, land, and businesses. While Palm Springs faced competition from the desert cities to the east in the later 1980s, it has continued to prosper into the 21st century.

Spring break

Since the early 1950s the city had been a popular spring break resort. Glamorized as a destination in the 1963 movie Palm Springs Weekend, the number of visitors grew and at times the gatherings had problems. In 1969 an estimated 15,000 people had gathered for a concert at the Palm Springs Angel Stadium and 300 were arrested for drunkenness or disturbing the peace. In the 1980s 10,000+ college students would visit the city and form crowds and parties – and another rampage occurred in 1986 when Palm Springs Police in riot gear had to put down the rowdy crowd. In 1990, due to complaints by residents, mayor Sonny Bono and the city council closed the city's Palm Canyon Drive to Spring Breakers and the downtown businesses lost money normally filled by the tourists.

Today

Tourism is a major factor in the city's economy with 1.6 million visitors in 2011. The city has over 130 hotels and resorts, numerous bed and breakfasts and over 100 restaurants and dining spots.

Following the recession of the late 2000s/early 2010s, Palm Springs is revitalizing its Downtown or "the Village". Rebuilding started with the demolition of the Bank of America building in January 2012, with the Desert Fashion Plaza scheduled for demolition later in 2012.

The movement behind Mid-Century modern architecture (1950s/60s era) in Palm Springs is backed by architecture enthusiasts, artistic designers and local historians to preserve many of Central Palm Springs' buildings and houses of famous celebrities, businessmen and politicians.

Geography and environment

Palm Springs is located at (33.823990, −116.530339) in the Sonoran Desert. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.0 square miles (246 km2), of which 94.1 square miles (244 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (1%) is water. Located in the Coachella Valley desert region, Palm Springs is sheltered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south, by the San Jacinto Mountains to the west and by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east.

Climate

Palm Springs has a hot desert climate, with over 300 days of sunshine and around 4.83 inches (122.7 mm) of rain annually. The winter months are warm, with a majority of days reaching 70 °F (21 °C) and in January and February days often see temperatures of 80 °F (27 °C) and on occasion reach over 90 °F (32 °C), while, on average, there are 17 nights annually dipping to or below 40 °F (4 °C); freezing temperatures occur in less than half of years. The lowest temperature recorded is 19 °F (−7 °C), on January 22, 1937. Summer often sees daytime temperatures above 110 °F (43 °C) coupled with warm overnight lows remaining above 80 °F (27 °C). The mean annual temperature is 74.6 °F (23.7 °C). There are 180 days with a high reaching 90 °F (32 °C), and 100 °F (38 °C) can be seen on 116 days. The highest temperature on record in Palm Springs is 123 °F (51 °C), most recently achieved on July 28 and 29, 1995.

Climate data for Palm Springs Fire Station 2, California (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 95
(35)
99
(37.2)
104
(40)
112
(44.4)
116
(46.7)
122
(50)
123
(50.6)
123
(50.6)
121
(49.4)
116
(46.7)
102
(38.9)
93
(33.9)
123
(50.6)
Average high °F (°C) 70.8
(21.56)
74.0
(23.33)
80.4
(26.89)
87.7
(30.94)
95.7
(35.39)
103.7
(39.83)
108.1
(42.28)
107.3
(41.83)
101.9
(38.83)
91.2
(32.89)
78.5
(25.83)
69.2
(20.67)
89.0
(31.67)
Average low °F (°C) 45.4
(7.44)
48.0
(8.89)
52.2
(11.22)
57.4
(14.11)
64.3
(17.94)
70.8
(21.56)
77.5
(25.28)
77.6
(25.33)
71.9
(22.17)
62.3
(16.83)
51.6
(10.89)
44.1
(6.72)
60.3
(15.72)
Record low °F (°C) 19
(-7.2)
24
(-4.4)
29
(-1.7)
34
(1.1)
36
(2.2)
44
(6.7)
54
(12.2)
52
(11.1)
46
(7.8)
30
(-1.1)
23
(-5)
23
(-5)
19
(-7.2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.15
(29.2)
1.11
(28.2)
0.53
(13.5)
0.06
(1.5)
0.02
(0.5)
0.02
(0.5)
0.13
(3.3)
0.29
(7.4)
0.23
(5.8)
0.24
(6.1)
0.32
(8.1)
0.87
(22.1)
4.97
(126.2)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.1 3.2 1.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.6 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.8 1.9 14.4
Source: NOAA (extremes 1917–present)

Ecology

Gateway to the Springs
The Sonoran desert Gateway to Palm Springs, California, as observed from above highway 62 in the Morongo Basin
Wind Farm (Palm Springs, California)
A wind farm in Palm Springs

The locale features a variety of native Low Desert flora and fauna. A notable tree occurring in the wild and under cultivation is the California Fan Palm, Washingtonia filifera.

Neighborhoods

Palm Springs through mountains
View through the San Jacinto Mountains to Palm Springs

The City of Palm Springs has developed a program to identify distinctive neighborhoods in the community. Of the 33 neighborhoods, 7 have historical and cultural significance.

Movie Colony neighborhoods

The Movie Colony is just east of Palm Canyon Drive. The Movie Colony East neighborhood extends further east from the Ruth Hardy Park. These areas started growing in the 1930s as Hollywood movie stars built their smaller getaways from their Los Angeles area estates. Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Estée Lauder, and Bing Crosby built homes in these neighborhoods.

El Rancho Vista Estates

In the 1960s, Robert Fey built 70 homes designed by Donald Wexler and Ric Harrison in the El Rancho Vista Estates. Noted residents included Jack LaLanne and comic Andy Dick.

Warm Sands

Historic homes in the Warm Sands area date from the 1920s and many were built from adobe. It also includes small resorts and the Ramon Mobile Home Park. Noted residents have included screenwriter Walter Koch, artist Paul Grimm, activist Cleve Jones and actor Wesley Eure.

The Mesa

The Mesa started off as a gated community developed in the 1920s near the Indian Canyons. Noted residents have included King Gillette, Zane Grey, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Suzanne Somers, Herman Wouk, Henry Fernandez, Barry Manilow and Trina Turk. Distinctive homes include Wexler's "butterfly houses" and the "Streamline Moderne Ship of the Desert".

Tahquitz River Estates

Palm Springs - Tahquitz Canyon Way - USA - Agosto 2011
Tahquitz Canyon Way

Some of the homes in this neighborhood date from the 1930s. The area was owned by Pearl McCallum McManus and she started building homes in the neighborhood after World War II ended. Dr. William Scholl (Dr. Scholl's foot products) owned a 10-acre estate here. Today the neighborhood is the largest neighborhood organization with 600 homes and businesses within its boundaries.

Sunmor Estates

During World War II, the original Sunmor Estates area was the western portion the Palm Springs Army Airfield. Homes here were developed by Robert Higgins and the Alexander Construction Company. Actor and former mayor Frank Bogert bought his home for $16,000 and lived there for more than 50 years.

Historic Tennis Club

Impoverished artist Carl Eytel first set up his cabin on what would become the Tennis Club in 1937. Another artist in the neighborhood, who built his Moroccan-style "Dar Marrac" estate in 1924, was Gordon Coutts. Other estates include Samuel Untermyer's Mediterranean style villa (now The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn), the Casa Cody Inn, built by Harriet and Harold William Cody (cousin of Buffalo Bill Cody) and the Ingleside Inn, built in the 1920s by the Humphrey Birge family. The neighborhood now has about 400 homes, condos, apartments, inns and restaurants.

Las Palmas neighborhoods

To the west of Palm Canyon Drive are the Vista Las Palmas, Old Las Palmas, and Little Tuscany neighborhoods. These areas also feature distinctive homes and celebrity estates.

Racquet Club Estates

Historic Racquet Club Estates, located north of Vista Chino, is home to over five hundred mid-century modern homes from the Alexander Construction Company. "Meiselman" homes, and the famed Wexler steel homes (having Class One historic designation) are also prominent in the area. Racquet Club Estates was Palm Springs' first middle income neighborhood.

Deepwell Estates

Deepwell Estates, the eastern portion of the square mile defined by South/East Palm Canyon, Mesquite, and Sunrise, contains around 370 homes, including notable homes architecturally and of celebrity figures. Among the celebrities who lived in the neighborhood are Jerry Lewis, Loretta Young, Liberace, and William Holden.

Demographics

2010

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1940 3,434
1950 7,660 123.1%
1960 13,468 75.8%
1970 20,936 55.4%
1980 32,359 54.6%
1990 40,181 24.2%
2000 42,807 6.5%
2010 44,552 4.1%
Est. 2015 47,371 10.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

The 2010 United States Census reported that Palm Springs had a population of 44,552. The population density was 469.1 people per square mile (181.1/km²). The racial makeup of Palm Springs was 33,720 (75.7%) White (63.6% Non-Hispanic White), 1,982 (4.4%) African American, 467 (1.0%) Native American, 1,971 (4.4%) Asian, 71 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 4,949 (11.1%) from other races, and 1,392 (3.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11,286 persons (25.3%).

The Census reported that 44,013 people (98.8% of the population) lived in households, 343 (0.8%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 196 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

There were 22,746 households, out of which 3,337 (14.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,812 (25.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,985 (8.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 868 (3.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,031 (4.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 2,307 (10.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,006 households (44.0%) were made up of individuals and 4,295 (18.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93. There were 8,665 families (38.1% of all households); the average family size was 2.82.

The population was spread out with 6,125 people (13.7%) under the age of 18, 2,572 people (5.8%) aged 18 to 24, 8,625 people (19.4%) aged 25 to 44, 15,419 people (34.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 11,811 people (26.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51.6 years. For every 100 females there were 129.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 133.8 males.

There were 34,794 housing units at an average density of 366.3 per square mile (141.4/km²), of which 13,349 (58.7%) were owner-occupied, and 9,397 (41.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 6.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 15.5%. 24,948 people (56.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 19,065 people (42.8%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Palm Springs had a median household income of $45,198, with 18.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

2000

Palm Springs from the Museum Trail
A view of Palm Springs from the Museum Trail

As of the census of 2000, there were 42,807 people, 20,516 households, and 9,457 families residing in the city. The population density was 454.2 people per square mile (175.4/km2). There were 30,823 housing units at an average density of 327.0 per square mile (126.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.3% White, 3.9% African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.8% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.7% of the population.

There were 20,516 out of which 16.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.0% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.9% were non-families. 41.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.1 and the average family size was 2.9.

In the city, the population was spread out with 17.0% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 26.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 107.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,973 and the median income for a family was $45,318. Males had a median income of $33,999 versus $27,461 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,957. About 11.2% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.

Same-sex couples

Palm Springs has one of the highest concentration of same-sex couples of any community in the United States. In the city, 7.2% of households belong to a same-sex couple compared to the national average of 1%. Palm Springs has the fifth-highest percentage of same-sex households in the nation. Former mayor Ron Oden estimated that about a third of Palm Springs is gay. Over various times, the city has catered to LGBT tourists. Palm Springs is host to the Greater Palm Springs Pride Celebration. This celebration, held every year in November, includes events such as the Palm Springs Pride Golf Classic, the Stonewall Equality Concert, and a Broadway in Drag Pageant. The city also held same sex wedding ceremonies at the iconic 'Forever Marilyn' statue located downtown, before its relocation in 2014.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

  • The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films ("ShortFest") present movie star-filled, red-carpet affairs in January and June respectively.
  • Modernism Week, in February, is an 11-day event featuring mid-century modern architecture through films, lectures, tours and its Modernism Show & Sale. A four-day Modernism Week Preview is held in mid-October.

The Palm Springs Black History Committee celebrates Black History Month with a parade and town fair every February.

  • Agua Caliente Cultural Museum presents its annual Festival of Native Film & Culture at the Camelot Theaters in central Palm Springs.
    Village Fest-3
    Village Fest in Palm Springs
  • The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, known as "The Dinah", is a LGBT event billed as the "Largest Girl Party in the World" held each March.
  • A circuit White Party is held in April, attracting 10,000 visitors.
  • The Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, co-sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, is held in May with screenings at the Camelot Theater.
  • Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is held every June, featuring 10 days of dining at over 100 restaurants in the Coachella Valley.
  • The Caballeros, a gay men's chorus and member of GALA Choruses, has presented concerts since 1999.

The following three parades, held on Palm Canyon Drive, were created by former Mayor Will Kleindienst:

  • Palm Springs Annual Homecoming Parade is held on the Wednesday prior to the Friday night Palm Springs High School Homecoming Game.
  • The city sponsors a Veterans Day parade, concert and fireworks display since 1996. It is one of 54 US Department of Veterans Affairs designated Regional Sites for the national observance of Veterans Day.
  • Since 1992 the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade is held on the first Saturday of December.

Ongoing cultural events

For many years, The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies was a stage-show at the historic Plaza Theatre featuring performers over the age of 55. Still Kicking: The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies is a 1997 Mel Damski short documentary film about the Follies. The Palm Springs Follies closed for good after the 2013-14 season.

Starting in 2004, the city worked with downtown businesses to develop the weekly Palm Springs VillageFest. The downtown street fair has been a regular Thursday evening event, drawing tourists and locals alike to Palm Canyon Drive to stroll amid the food and craft vendors.

Events related to films and film-craft are sponsored by the Desert Film Society.

Public art

The city council has established a 7-member commission to promote art in the city. The commission has sponsored several notable public art projects in the city, including:

  • "A Personal History of Palm Springs" by Tony Berlant diptych mural, Convention Center lobby
  • "The Batter" by Bill Arms, Baseball stadium
  • "Standing Woman" by Felipe Castaneda, Palm Canyon in front of the Historical Society
  • "Flight" by Damian Priour, entrance to Bird Medical Technologies on Gene Autry Drive
  • "Daimaru XII" by Michael Todd. Convention Center; on lease from the Palm Springs Art Museum
  • "Lucy Ricardo" by Emmanuil Snitkovsky. Tahquitz Canyon at Palm Canyon
  • "Desert Highland Mural Project" by Richard Wyatt. Desert Highland Unity Center, Tramview Road
  • "Desert Reflections" by Phill Evans. City Dog Park
  • "Nines and Elevens" by James Jared Taylor III. Demuth Park
  • "Charlie Farrell" by George Montgomery. Palm Springs International Airport
  • "Rainmaker" by David Morris. Fountain, Frances Stevens Park
  • "Lawn Chair" by Blue McRight. Pepper Tree Inn
  • "Whirlwind" by Gary Slater. Ruth Hardy Park
  • "Wave Rhythms" by John Mishler. Sunrise Park

Museums and other points of interest

  • Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
    • Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (presently located downtown at the Village Green)
    • Indian Canyons (Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, Murray Canyon)
    • Tahquitz Canyon, wildlife area and one-time staging place for the outdoor "Desert Plays" in the 1920s
    • Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage
    • Spa Resort Casino, which is based on the original hot springs of the town
  • Forever Marilyn sculpture by Seward Johnson in downtown Palm Springs (presently in New Jersey for a Seward Johnson exhibition)
  • Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium
  • Palm Springs Historical Society Museums (and Village Green)
    • Miss Cornelia White's "Little House" (railroad ties from the defunct Palmdale Railroad were used to build the house)
    • The McCallum Adobe – the oldest remaining building, built in 1884
    • Ruddy's General Store Museum – a 1930s general store
  • Palm Springs Air Museum – located at the Palm Springs International Airport
  • Palm Springs Art Museum – originally developed as the Desert Museum
    • Annenberg Theater
  • Palm Springs Walk of Stars
  • San Jacinto Mountains
    • Cactus to Clouds Trail – leads from the Art Museum to San Jacinto Peak
    • Mount San Jacinto State Park
    • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
    • Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
  • Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert – in Rancho Mirage
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens – in Palm Desert
  • Joshua Tree National Park
    • Little San Bernardino Mountains

Numerous galleries and studios are located in the city and region. The California Art Club has a chapter in Palm Springs. The Desert Art Center of Coachella Valley was established in Palm Springs in 1950.

  • Delos Van Earle's "Jungle Red" (Warm Sands neighborhood)

Parks and recreation

City parks

  • City parks include:
    • Baristo Park
    • DeMuth Park
    • Desert Healthcare (Wellness) Park
    • James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center
    • Dog Park (behind city hall)
    • Frances Stevens Park
    • Ruth Hardy Park
    • Sunrise Park
    • Victoria Park

Recreation

  • The Palm Springs Desert Ice Palace ice skating rink opened in nearby Cathedral City in October 2011.
  • Boomers! is a family entertainment center in Cathedral City.
  • A city skatepark was designed after the noted Nude Bowl.
  • CNL Financial Group operates the Wet'n'Wild Palm Springs water park in the summer. (Formerly operated as Knott's Soak City by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.)

In 1931 the Desert Riders was established. Starting off as a social organization for the cream of Palm Springs society, the group sponsors horseback riding and trail building for equestrians, hikers, and bicyclists. The Desert Riders were also significant in providing combination chuckwagon meals and rides through nearby canyons to hotel guests as Palm Springs developed its tourist industry.

Modern architecture

Mid-century modern house in Palm Springs
Mid-century modern house in Palm Springs
Miller House, Palm Springs, California
Miller House, by Richard Neutra

Besides its tradition of mid-century modern architecture, Palm Springs and the region features numerous noted architects. Other (non-Mid-Century Modern) include Edward H. Fickett, Haralamb H. Georgescu, Howard Lapham, and Karim Rashid.

Palm Springs in popular culture

See also: List of films and TV series set in Palm Springs, California and List of films shot in Palm Springs, California

The Palm Springs area has been a filming location, topical setting, and storyline subject for many films, television shows, and literature.

Images for kids


Palm Springs, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.