What Was Old in Palm Springs in 1952

This is an article from the Desert Sun in 1952..

pedroReal estate transactions in Palm Springs today climb into figures as high as a Pentagon estimate, yet it was less than 75 years ago that Palm Springs was only a small Indian Village. It wasn’t until 1880 that the first buyer of Palm Springs real estate arrived in town, two men from San Bernardino, W. E. Van Slyke and M. Byrne. They visited an Indian named Pedro Chino who had developed a very small ranch between the Hot Springs (Aqua Caliente) and the mountains. He lived in a small one-room adobe house not far from the present Hotel Oasis. Van Slyke and Byrne offered Chino $150.00 for his ranch. He took it, turned his house and ranch over to the white men. and rode off on his horse to the Indian Village of Protrero near Banning. Van Slyke and Byrne then proceeded to buy more land on speculation. But they didn’t settle here to live. Judge McCallum, Pearl McManus’ father was the first white man to make his home here. In 1884 he built the little adobe which is now part of the Hotel Oasis. The records of San Diego County of 1887 prove that the judge must have really been sold on the desert because deed after deed is recorded in his name. The first real estate transaction in the village between two white men occurred when, on March 24. 1887). Van Slvke and Byrne granted Judge McCallum a fifth interest in the 320 acres constituting the original townsite.

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Wellwood Murray’s Hotel

In 1886 the first hotel in the village was ready for occupancy when Mr. Welwood Murray, with the help of Indian labor, built a small wood and adobe hotel on land leased from Judge McCallum. By 1800 there were other small homes built. Palm Springs had its own water system, and had settled down to make progress. ‘‘Palmdale,” now Smoke Tree Ranch, and “The Garden of Eden,” situated near the old Indian village of Rincon near Palm Canyon, were two of the “newer” subdivisions. In 1984. the first death of a white man occurred in Palm Springs, and Murray’s son, Welwood Erskine was put to rest in the small cemetery at the foot of the mountains. It wasn’t until 1894 that the second burial took place when an artist by the name of Rich Schmidt died. Then there was one burial a year until 1911. The Big Register of Riverside County, printed in 1896. lists 19 permanent residents in “Palm City Precinct,” (that’s us) and as the little town grew in earnest, there was need for a school, so in 1900 the first school for white children was built whore Jerry’s Market now stands. Families who had, and still have, an important part in the development of the village, began to arrive. Nellie Coffman and her family came in 1908, the

White sisters arrived in 1913, and in 1914 Ed and Zaddie Bunker arrived. One of the interesting stories of early Palm Springs which was often told by Mrs. Coffman was about the first highway into Palm Springs from Banning, an improvement that the small group of villagers had worked hard to promote. On January 15, 1916 an epochal luncheon took place at the Coffman’s “Desert Inn,” celebrating the completion of the desert highway. The usual sunny skies looked ominous and Mrs. Coffman prayed, “Oh, Lord, please don’t let it rain until 5 o’clock this evening because we have to eat out-of-doors, there isn’t enough room inside, and I don’t want everyone to get wet.” Rain held off until 8 o’clock and it rained in torrents for two weeks. When it cleared there was nothing loft of the desert highway! But the early pioneers weren’t made of the stuff that can be defeated by discouragement.

24966-The-DesertInn-Lockwood-cc-cb823a30They continued to work and plan for the future of their little village. They had good years along with the bad and the village continued to forge ahead, supplemented by more sturdy citizens such as the Lykkens, the Hicks, and the Hansens. The village continues to attract people with vision. One of our more recent developments is the new subdivision located on the old Deep Well Ranch in the sheltered south end of Palm Springs and known as DEEP WELL RANCH ESTATES, planned under the watchful eye of Bill Grant, local developer, who has conscientiously lived up to the best in the Palm Springs tradition. These new homes enjoy the panorama of the same beautiful mountains that our first settlers viewed, and their owners will enjoy the same sunshine and healthful desert air.

They are a testament to the progress of Palm Springs in her brief but glorious 75 years.

For more information on the history of Palm Springs history please check out:  PS-Historical-Society-logo

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