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The City of La Quinta boasts some of the most majestic and scenic views in the U.S. It is simply “the GEM of the Desert.” Today, the City of La Quinta is flourishing. The City is home to some of the world’s best and most well- known golf courses, as well as home to the famous La Quinta Resort & Club where movie stars and presidents have come to enjoy.

How It All Began…

The area known as La Quinta is almost completely surrounded by the colorful Santa Rosa Mountains and is located on a high alluvial fan. When the floor of the valley first began sinking, it was covered by the Pacific Ocean, and over a period of hundreds of years, as the Colorado River flowed into the Gulf of California, it deposited silt, forming a large delta fan. The silt deposits grew higher and wider until the sinking basin was gradually cut off from the ocean. The basin floor continued to sink as the mountains on both sides grew higher.

Five hundred years ago, the Colorado River changed its course and flooded the east Coachella Valley, creating a freshwater lake, now known as Lake Cahuilla. This lake’s water line, as well as deposits from freshwater fish and mollusks, can be clearly seen today along the baseline of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

The first ancestors of the La Quinta area were the Desert Cahuilla Indians. The Cahuillas were basically hunters and gatherers. They were one of the few Native American tribes who dug actual wells. The Cahuilla Indians still exist today, but it is hard to say whether they are pure Cahuilla or a mixture of all the neighboring tribes who bonded together in the 1920s.

Not much changed in the valley until 1853 when the U.S. government began surveying for a railroad route between Los Angeles and New Orleans. By 1876, the first scheduled trains began operating between Indio and Los Angeles. Indio became a major railroad center allowing early farmers to get their vegetables, melon, citrus and date crops to metropolitan markets. The Indio area was chosen because it had a plentiful water supply. The La Quinta climate was ideal for growing exotic dates, sweet corn, Bermuda onions and Thompson seedless grapes. Travel to the desert became much easier and many Los Angeles residents began making trips to the desert.

The city has welcomed sun-worshippers to its enticing home-away-from-home for more than 60 years. It was incorporated through the efforts of Fred Wolff, the first mayor, and his wife, Kay, along with the help of other task force members, Larry Allen, Bob Baier, John Klimkiewicz, Margaret Miele, Jim Montgomery and Fred Rice. In May 1982, La Quinta was named for the resort opened in 1926 by Walter Morgan.

Today the City of La Quinta is booming with a growing population, a large winter/spring seasonal population, affectionately known as “snow birds”; retail stores along Highway 111, Washington Street and charming boutique shops and restaurants in its Old Town Village area; tourism; a variety of recreational opportunities; cultural activities; and our amazing mountain views.

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