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History of Palm Desert

Modern-day Palm Desert is an inspiring vacation destination for travelers from near and far. That said, the city has a rich history that has made it what it is today. Check out this Palm Desert history review.

Early History

The space sprawling between modern-day Palm Springs and Indio was originally designated tribal lands of the Cahuilla Indian farmers long before it became Palm Desert. The Cahuilla Indian farmers belonged to the San Cayetano tribe which no longer exists in tandem with select members of the Montoya family. Interest began growing in the area by the 1920s and the first date palms were planted and cultivated in an area that would come to be known as Palm Village. This destination was made up of scattered homes and lots throughout the Great Depression. In 1943, the area that would one day become the upscale El Paseo shopping district was used as a maintenance camp and motor pool by General Patton.

Eventually, plans were made to transform Palm Village into something more. This task was undertaken by Cliff Henderson and his brothers Randall, Phil, and Carl alongside their brother-in-law and architect Tommy Tomson. The group purchased 1,600 acres of land and began construction on the Shadow Mountain Club complete with surrounding homes. Tommy Tomson was tasked with creating an appealing city aesthetic and the area was formally opened in 1948.

Making It Official

November 26, 1973, marked the day the city of Palm Desert was officially incorporated. It quickly became known as the retail and cultural center of the desert communities that made up the greater Coachella Valley. In 1997, Palm Desert was voted a charter city as a way to preserve principles of self-governance. The official tree of Palm Desert was named the Desert Willow, the official bird was named the mourning dove, and the official flower is the verbena. Today, Palm Desert remains a top destination for travelers from across the map who are looking for a place to enjoy that hosts year-round amazing weather, easy access to outdoor recreation, stunning views, top-notch shopping, and world-class dining experiences too.

Book Today

Make more of every moment enjoyed in Palm Desert when you partner with TRAVLR to book your vacation rental. Our collection of area property options is designed to inspire and keep guests close to the fun while infusing luxury, comfort, and style into every stay as well. Reach out today to learn more about our exciting selection and to start planning your next adventure to Palm Desert.