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  • Palm Springs Historical SocietyPalm Springs Historical Society Palm Springs, California
    The American Fine Arts Editions, Inc. is an internationally recognized art publisher and The history of Palm Springs, California is as diverse as the people that come here to visit, as well as those that come here and live. First the native Agua Caliente Cahuila Indians, then the pioneers, to the first early Hollywood stars and the mid-century architects and the celebrity mayor, Sonny Bono, and now a new rediscovery of this magnificent center of history and ecological delights. Over 2000 years ago, the first settlers here were the ancestors of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuila Indians; who had come to hunt and gather as their forefathers, living off the land and learning to adapt to the harsh extremities of the desert summers and mountain winters. A lot of their lives would be centered around the thick vegetation and plentiful water that is called Indian Canyons, which is the continent's biggest natural fan palm oasis. In 1774, the Cahuilla would meet the first non-native arrivals, Juan Bautista de Anza and his expedition as they traveled through the area, and in 1853, the government sent a survey team to map Palm Springs and the fantastic hot springs mineral pools, which has grown into the Spa Resort Casino, and the survey team found the first wagon train route that would take them through the San Gorgonio Pass. Then, in 1863, the Cahuilla were devastated with a smallpox epidemic that took thousands. When the government wanted the railroads to go all the way to the Pacific, in 1877, they gave the Southern Pacific Railroad title to the odd numbered lots that went for ten miles of both sides of the tracks into the southern California desert area near Palm Springs. The even numbered lots were given to the Agua Caliente, with the federal law stipulating that they could not sell or lease the land to anyone else. In 1884, Judge John G. McCallum of San Francisco came to the town with his family, hoping the environment would be beneficial to his tubercular son. He was the first non native settler, and purchased land from the railroad, constructing a big aqueduct system to bring water to the Coachella Valley. This initial venture turned out to be a blessing for the future agricultural growth that occurred over the next few decades. Dr. Welwood Murray constructed the first hotel, the Palm Springs Hotel in 1886. The growing city began attracting more settlers and visitors coming for their health and the soothing effects of the mineral hot springs. As the area gained importance in the state, Congress passed the Mission Indian Relief Act of 1891, that allowed the Secretary of the Interior to make single allotments of the reservation lands, although it took another half a century before the Indians could actually use those rights. President Eisenhower was the man to sign the Equalization Law in 1959, that said tribes could make money from the sale of their lands and the 99 year lease. During those trying times for the natives, the area still continued to grow, and in 1909, Nellie Coffman's Desert Inn would open, as well as a garage that could service the many vehicles that came here to visit. Soon a school would be constructed for the small amount of year-round resident families. The village of Palm Springs was incorporated in 1938, but not before it had become world famous as the winter playgrounds for the rich and famous movie stars that came here. There had been a rule of thumb placed on actors from Hollywood that said they could travel around the area, but had to be within two hours of Hollywood so that if they had to shot again, they could be back in time. Palm Springs soon became the playground for stars like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Loretta Young and today it has been the same for the likes of Halley Berry, Gwen Stefani, Dakota Fanning and Leonardo DiCaprio. Soon enough business tycoons and magnates were frequenting the region for the daily sunshine and the calmness of the desert. European royalty began coming here for the same reasons and to party with the famous people that were always on screen. In WWII, the desert area would become the training ground for General George S. Patton's armored divisions as they got ready to invade the desert areas of Northern Africa. The El Mirador Hotel, which is like a second home to many of the stars, and presently the site of the Desert Regional Medical Center, became Torney General Hospital taking care of the wounded troops and a place for the Italian POWs, that were held at the detention camp nearby, would come in and help in the hospital. The airfield that was constructed to handle this invasion of the military eventually became the Palm Springs Regional Airport. This small landing strip and the first big Indian land purchase after the 1959 Equalization Law, would evolve into the Palm Springs International Airport with flights going all over the country and Canada.

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  • Palm Springs Art MuseumPalm Springs Art Museum Palm Springs, California
    The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs, California is dedicated to the diverse community that lives here and has become one of the finest mid-sized art museums in the nation, with a strong commitment to create enjoyment, education and cooperation between them and the community by visual art media that focuses on the ultimate quality of performing arts. They are devoted to collecting, saving, showing and interpreting the art form in a broad range of chronological and geographic standards. The museum began in 1938, and today is the nucleus of the desert's art community, that started as a museum about the desert and has grown into a magnificent oasis for the arts, showcasing international modern and contemporary sculpture and paintings by such fabulous artists as Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Henry Moore, John Chamberlain, Barbara Hepworth, Duane Hanson, Anthony Gormley and Anselm Keifer. There are marvelous works by many west coast artists like Edward Ruscha, Sam Francis, Mark de Suvero, Robert Arneson and Nathan Oliveira. Other works by famous artists include; Dale Chihuly, Howard Ben Tre, Lynda Benglis, Karen LaMonte, William Morris, plus Mesoamerican artifacts, photographs, classic western art by Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. The museum is 150,000 square feet of excellent space designed by E. Stewart Williams and houses spectacular collections in American 19th century landscape paintings, American desert paintings, American Contemporary sculpture, American contemporary paintings, American western art, American Graphics and works on paper, American photography, American modern architecture, American Indian Contemporary artworks and a list that is very expansive and exciting. The best thing to do is to visit this mecca in the sun and see for yourself why so many rich and famous people have come here instead of going to other parts of the world.

January 11, 2011