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History of Palm Springs

Tucked away in the desert between Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs offers a relaxing desert getaway with a truly unique history. From the early days of Cahuilla Tribe Indian Reservation to glitz and glamour of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, Palm Springs has a past unlike any other. 

We believe history should be cherished, so discover how Palm Springs has evolved and what makes our very own property so special to this day. 

Where it all began Agua Caliente Cahuilla tribe Palm Springs history can be dated back to nearly 2,000 years ago to the ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla tribe. The area recognized today as Indian Canyons provided an environment of thriving vegetation and water for survival.

By the late 1800s, the first Americans appeared on the scene, altering the course of history when they renamed the site Palm Springs. Palm Springs enjoys its wonderful microclimate due to its situation between two mountain ranges - the San Bernardino Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains.
The Early 1900's Palm Springs evolves Through the 1920s and into the 1930s, construction of larger and more luxurious hotels continued, including the 1927 completion of the grand, luxurious El Mirador; it attracted some of the era’s well-known politicians like FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and big-name movie stars including Shirley Temple, who saw Palm Springs as an easy get-away from Los Angeles at a time when remaining under two hours away from the city was a common stipulation of Hollywood contracts.
The early 1950's War ends, glamour returns With the celebrities and hotels came places of entertainment, like tennis clubs and golf courses, nightclubs and restaurants. Shopping and retail centers also became an important part of the growing city.

Things took a slightly different turn during World War II when it functioned as a U.S. government training facility and the military used the airfield. But in the years after the war, the glitz and glamour returned, alongside rapid growth with new housing developments and businesses.
1959 The Riviera is born Original architect and visionary, Irwin Schuman fashioned our resort after major Vegas hotels like The Sands, The Flamingo, and The Stardust. Opening in 1959, our Palm Springs resort immediately became the go-to hot spot for celebrities and sophisticates like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who would lounge by the pool and in the Presidential Suite.
The 1960's The Riviera becomes a hotbed for swinging ’60s culture. It’s a staple hangout for the Rat Pack, and Elvis Presley visits with his band. Famed singers like Desi Arnaz perform, as well as big name acts like Sonny and Cher frequent the hotel.

At the time, the Riviera is the hotel in the United States to be built in a spoke wheel shape, a unique shape which would fit into the psychedelic culture of the 60’s because of its communal shape.
The 1970's - 1990's The 60’s give way to a more mellow 70’s culture as The Riviera becomes more of a family hotel in keeping with the theme of that generation. Frank Sinatra hosts several “Love Ins” in 78’ and 80’ – fundraisers that had Frank donning an apron and cooking pasta sauce in The Riviera kitchen.

By the late 1990’s, the Riviera is still the scene for Hollywood’s biggest celebrities, including New Years Eve in the Grand Ballroom with artists such as Beyonce, Jay Z and Ice T.
Palm Springs Today a desert oasis Palm Springs has remained secluded but star-studded, sunny and chic.

It’s a paradise for lovers of the arts and design, hosting an International Film Festival since 1989 and Modernism Week, a week-long celebration of programs and events that foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, for more than 15 years.




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