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Palm Springs


California

Palm Springs for history buffs

Congress passed the Mission Indian Relief Act in 1891, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to make individual allotments from reservation lands. However, it would be another 50 years before the Indians, taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court (Lee Arenas v. United States, 1944), would win the legal rights to have allotments approved. The success was short-lived due to the need for equalization of allotments and federal laws denoting the length of leases on Indian lands. It was not until President Eisenhower signed the Equalization Law in 1959 that tribes could realize profits from their lands and develop the 99-year lease.

During these years Palm Springs grew rapidly. In 1909 Nellie Coffman's Desert Inn opened, as did a garage for servicing the vehicles that brought visitors from the East Coast and Los Angeles, and a school for the children of a handful of year-round residents.

By the time it was incorporated in 1938, the Village of Palm Springs had become world-famous as a winter playground for Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, Loretta Young. Today's young stars like Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Robbie Williams continue to seek rest and relaxation just hours away from the Hollywood glitz. European royalty and business tycoons all come to enjoy the endless sunshine and serenity of the desert.

During World War II, the desert became the training ground for General George S. Patton's troops as they prepared to invade North Africa. El Mirador Hotel, second home to the stars and the site of today's Desert Regional Medical Center, served as Torney General Hospital, treating U.S. wounded. Italian prisoners of war, housed at the adjoining detention camp, labored at the hospital. The airfield, built to handle military cargo and personnel planes, would become Palm Springs Regional Airport.

Once a small landing field and the first major Indian land purchase following the 1959 Equalization Law, the airport welcomed the 21st century as Palm Springs International Airport with flights nationwide and to Canada. The post-war era ushered in tremendous growth as Palm Springs' natural environment was no longer a secret of just the wealthy. With tourism's growth, attractions and resorts flourished. Development spread "down valley" With the advent of air-conditioning, visitors and residents stayed year-round. Today, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are a vital part of the Palm Springs community.

Individually, and as a tribe, the Agua Caliente is the largest landowners in the city with nearly 6,700 acres within the city limits. Many major hotels and facilities, such as the Palm Springs Convention Center, are sited on leased Indian lands. The Spa Resort Casino and Canyon Bank are examples of the Agua Caliente's economic development moving Palm Springs forward.

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Document Information
Source: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20080802
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