Historical Timeline - Coachella Valley

1774Spanish explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza, passed south of the Coachella Valley through Los Coyotes Canyon in search of a land route from Sonora to Monterey.
1823Captain Jose Romero, a Spanish explorer, entered the Banning Pass to look for a land route to Yuma. Not until his second attempt did Romero made it all the way to Yuma.
1863The William Bradshaw Trail stage route started through the Banning Pass from Los Angeles to the gold fields of Arizona.
1876The Southern Pacific Railroad's first steam engine made the run between Los Angeles and Indio. The next year the line was completed from Indio to Yuma.
1879The use of the Bradshaw Trail as a stage route ended with the development of the railroad.
1884The New Liverpool Salt Company began operation in when George Durbrow shipped what he called "white gold" to San Francisco.
1885John Guthrie McCallum and his family were the first non-Indian settlers in the Palm Springs area. McCallum established the Palm Valley Land and Water Company.
1886Dr. Welwood Murray opened the first hotel in Palm Springs.
1890The first planting of date palms by the U.S. Department of Agriculture took place.
1896Edith Mann Ross came to the valley with her family in a covered wagon. During Indio's Centennial in 1976 she was named Indio's "First Lady."
1897The first permanent school was built in Indio, an adobe building at the northwest corner of Fargo and Bliss. It replaced a tent that was being used as a school.
1899The first commercial grapes were planted by George Durbrow near the corner of present-day Highway 86 and Monroe Street.
1901The first newspaper, the Coachella Valley Submarine, was published in a tent in Indio.
1903Bernard Johnson planted the first private commercial date palms near Mecca.
1904Dr. June Robertson arrived in Indio and became the valley's first resident doctor.
1905The Colorado River flood broke through the head works of an irrigation canal and formed the Salton Sea.
1909Dr. Harry and Nellie Coffman arrived in Palm Springs. Nellie opened the famous Desert Inn.
1912The First National Bank opened in Coachella. This was the first financial institution to open in the Coachella Valley.
1913Cabot Yerxa acquired a160 acre homestead in present-day Desert Hot Springs. Cabot built by hand a 35 room, four-level, Hopi Indian style pueblo that is now used as a museum.
1913Caleb Cook, for whom Cook Street is named, moved to present-day Indian Wells and established a large date garden.
1913Cornelia White and her sister, Dr. Florilla White, purchased the old Palm Springs Hotel from Dr. Welwood Murray. It now houses the Palm Springs History Museum.
1914The first installation of electrical service was extended from San Bernardino into the Coachella Valley.
1917Zaddie Bunker opened the first automotive garage in Palm Springs.
1921Dr. Harry Smiley established a medical practice in Indio. Today, his adobe home can be visited at the Coachella Valley History Museum.
1925Pearl McCallum McManus and her husband Austin opened the Oasis Hotel on land her father Judge McCallum, had settled in 1885.
1926The O'Donnell 9-hole golf course opened for business.
1926Walter and Julia Morgan opened Hotel La Quinta with six small cottages.
1927The Medjool date was introduced to the Coachella Valley.
1927Frank Bogert, a cowboy actor, came to Palm Springs. He served twice as mayor, once
from 1958-1966 and laler from 1982-1988.
1927Gus Eiler established the Date Palm Beach Resort at the Salton Sea. Outboard motor races became a popular attraction at his marina.
The famous EI Mirador Hotel opened in Palm Springs.
1930Indio became the Coachella Valley's first incorporated city.
1930The settlement that was to become the City of Rancho Mirage was started by E. P. Davies.
1934Charlie Farrell and Ralph Bellamy created the Racquet Club Hotel in Palm Springs.
1938Palm Springs was incorporated from what was formerly called the Village of Palm Springs.
1941Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to pilot an American bomber across the Atlantic Ocean for delivery in England.
1942General George Patton established Camp Young (the Desert Training Center) near Chiriaco Summit to train American soldiers under adverse desert conditions.
1943Mary Ann Bundschuh opened a bakery and restaurant in Thermal.
1944The Desert Training Center closed on April 30. Its job was done.
1946Harry Oliver began to publish The Desert Rat Scrap Book in which he spun tales about a fictitious desert neighborhood.
1946Coachella was incorporated as the "City of Eternal Sunshine."
1947Helen Burns opened Helen's Beach House, a popular resort marina where people met for music and dancing beside the Salton Sea.
1948Cliff Henderson and his brothers opened the Shadow Mountain Resort in what is today Palm Desert.
1953Jacqueline Cochran set three world records testing jet aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base.
1956Carl G. Bray opened an art gallery in Indian Wells where he painted and sold his art work depicting desert scenery.
1958Albert Frey, a successful architect of "Modernism" buildings, designed the North Shore Yacht Club at the Salton Sea.
1958College of the Desert, a two-year college, was founded in Palm Desert. It is one of the 110 community colleges in California, the world's largest system of higher education.
1963Desert Hot Springs was incorporated.
1963The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway opened as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak. It was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon and is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.
1963Construction began on Sunnylands, the 200-acre estate built by Ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg. The property became the vacation site of numerous celebrities and public officials.
1964Named after the Hollywood entertainer and movie celebrity,. the first Bob Hope Golf Tournament was played.
1967Indian Wells was incorporated.
1973Palm Desert was incorporated. First named "Sand Hole," and then Palm Village. In the 1940s, it was an Army Tank and Truck Depot.
1973The City of Rancho Mirage was incorporated.
1977At the end of his presidency, President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty moved their home to Rancho Mirage.
1981Cathedral City was incorporated. It was first known as East Palm Springs and later as Palm Springs Heights.
1982La Quinta was incorporated. It was first known as Marshall's Cove after John Marshall.
1984Dr. Reynaldo Carreon, Jr. donated $100,000 to College of the Desert to be used for scholarships for students of Mexican-American descent.
1986Talk-show host and businessman Merv Griffin opened an Arabian horse ranch in La Quinta.
1989The Palm Springs International Film Festival began. It is held annually every January.
1992The Indio International Tamale Festival began. A holiday tradition, the festival has been named to the Top 10 list of "AIl American Food Festivals" in the nation.
1994Sonny Bono, an entertainer and former mayor of Palm Springs, was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. Following his death from a ski accident in 1998, his widow Mary Bono completed his term. She served in Congress until 2013.
1999The Empire Polo Club in Indio hosted the first outdoor Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Coachella Fest). It is now held annually.
1999The Tour de Palm Springs Charity bicycle races began. Raising funds for Coachella Valley's non-profit organizations, it has become the largest ride of its kind in the Western United States.
2000The Indian Wells Tennis Garden opened. Each year in March, it hosts the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world know as the BNP Paribis Open.
2002The Palm Desert Campus of California State University opened its first permanent structure on Cook Street in Palm Desert.
2010The desert Energy Enterprise Center opened. A part of College of the Desert, its purpose is to inspire green technology and to train the state's renewable energy workforce.


This timeline was created substantially by California State University, San Bernardino.