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Palm Desert really “began” in the 1920s, as “Palm Village”. It was the area north of Highway 111 and it was first called “Old MacDonald Village” before Palm Village began to take shape.
In 1932, Highway 74 opened, which provided access to other areas of the Palm Desert area, including San Jacinto and San Diego. The first residential development followed, in 1943, and it was called “Palm Village”. Although some people were moving into the area, it still remained a fairly remote and unsettled area.
Until 1947, that is, when – to accommodate the slowly increasing residential numbers – a post office, library, church, fire station, and pharmacy opened. To celebrate and recognize the area’s favorite activity, the first “golf cart parade” was also held in 1947.
Cliff Henderson, often credited with the development of the Palm Desert area, opened the first real estate office in Palm Desert right along Highway 111 and called it the Palm Desert Corporation. He also opened the Shadow Mountain Club, which began to attract celebrities and, therefore, publicity, to the Palm Desert area.
By 1960, the area was growing quickly. Although the population stood at 3,000, it was doubling every 3 ½ years, making real estate a booming business and sending other would-be business owners onto the bandwagon.
In 1973, the city of Palm Desert was incorporated. These days, the full-time resident population is about 45,000, but that number swells by more than 30,000 with those who call Palm Desert their seasonal or holiday home.