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LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE MAP No. 4 : COACHELLA VALLEY

Fourth in a Series of Hometown Maps of Southern California Communities by Westwood Artist Paul Shaffer

January 12, 1986

The first white man born in Palm Springs still lives there. Ted McKinney, age 67, is amazed at what has become of the small Indian village. His favorite era? The 1930s, when Hollywood celebrities began using Palm Springs as a playground. "There were so few people here that the movie stars really stood out," he remembers.

The Agua Caliente Indians were the first settlers in the Coachella Valley, drawn to its hot springs more than 400 years ago. Then, in 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad came to the desert and the original residents were forced to share their home. The land, which is now Palm Springs, was divided into a checkerboard pattern, the Indians being allotted the squares considered worthless. Today the Agua Caliente Indians are the wealthiest tribe in the nation.

The sun shines an average of 340 days a year.

The temperature in January averages 69 degrees, in July 108 degrees.

Palm Springs has 300 public and private tennis courts.

Members of The Racquet Club of Palm Springs in the 1930s included Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Douglas Fairbanks, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable.

Current members include Kirk Douglas, Barbara Sinatra, Gerald Ford, Dinah Shore, Magda Gabor, Rosalie Hearst.

There are 7,435 swimming pools in Palm Springs, or one for every five residents.

Minerals found in the hot springs waters include sulfate, sodium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, silica and traces of iron oxide and aluminum oxide. The water temperature ranges from 75 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coachella Valley's 60 golf courses require 60 million gallons of water daily. About 40% returns to the aquifer that supplies the valley with most of its water. (Estimates are that the aquifer holds enough water for the next 200 years, though the water level is dropping three to four feet a year.)

Permanent, year-round Coachella Valley residents total 142,609. Seasonal residents (the snowbirds who head toward warmer regions in the months from November through May) bring the total to 196,100.

Each year, 1 million people come to visit the Coachella Valley for a day. An added 1 3/4 million stay longer--an average of 2.6 days.

The average Palm Springs visitor is 39 years old with an income of $47,000 a year. Almost 35% of those who stay in hotels have visited the city 10 or more times.

The area's 190 Agua Caliente Indians own 24,314 acres in the Coachella Valley, including 5,280 acres in Palm Springs (11% of the city). The total amount of land allotted to the tribe in the late 1800s was 31,346 acres, 8,828 of which were in Palm Springs. Land sales account for the difference.

A downtown lot in Palm Springs cost $250 in 1913. Today the city's residential lots sell for an average of $75,000.

There are 1,336 windmills in the valley, serving 14,583 homes. The annual amount of energy generated totals 87.5 million kilowatts.

Last year, 39.8 million pounds of dates were grown and harvested in the Coachella Valley. That represented 90% of the nation's total production.

More than 40 palm oases can be found in the Valley. With 3,000 adult trees, Palm Canyon, located on the Agua Caliente reservation one mile south of Palm Springs, is the world's largest natural palm oasis. Trees can reach a height of 76 feet, with 40-inch diameters.

Palm Springs has another 10,000 palm trees on city property alone. The yearly municipal expenditure for palm tree maintenance is $27,000. (It costs $35 to trim a palm.) Produced by Linden Gross. Research by Los Angeles Times Library staff. Demographics reflect currently available figures.

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