Explore Palm Springs: Torney General Hospital

El Mirador Hotel becomes Army medical facility during World War II



Taken in July of 1945, a World War II soldier and a Grey Lady converse at Torney General Hospital, which was the El Mirado Hotel and now is Desert Regional Medical Center.

courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society

At the beginning of World War II, the Army purchased the El Mirador Hotel and converted it into a 1,600 bed medical facility.

The Army hospital specialized in general medicine, treating rheumatic fever and general and orthopedic surgery. The healing climate of the desert was used for the rest and recreation of the GIs recovering from their war injuries.

About 250 Italian prisoners of war worked at the facility and were housed in a detention facility next to the hospital.

During the summer of 1943, the Army transferred the hospital to the Army Air Force. In November of 1945, the facility was turned over to the Federal Works Administration and today Desert Regional Medical Center sits on the grounds of what was Torney General Hospital.

In July of 1945 after the surrender of Germany and before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, this photograph shows recuperating GIs and local volunteers sitting in the shade on the grounds of Torney General Hospital.

Throughout the war, local women supported the war effort by volunteering as Grey Ladies, a division of the American Red Cross. They provided personal nonmedical services to the sick, injured and disabled patients. Their work ranged from writing letters and reading to recuperating soldiers to being hostesses in the recreation room and at the information desk.

As Palm Springs celebrates its 75th anniversary, there are a multitude of ways to learn more about this desert treasure. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

Weekly, the Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Explore Palm Springs: Desert Circus Parade

The Desert Circus Parade became one of the most popular in Palm Springs featuring gigantic, strange laugh-provoking creatures.

Explore Palm Springs: The Dunes Club

In February 1936, property was purchased one-half mile from the Dunes Club in Cathedral City and extended all of the way to Ramon Road on the north.

Explore Palm Springs: Mounted Police Rodeo

One of the highlights of the annual Palm Springs Mounted Police Rodeo was a performance by Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Montie Montana.

Explore Palm Springs: Desert Riders

The Desert Riders first formed in 1931 as a social group in Palm Springs, but later added creating trails that are still in use today.

Explore Palm Springs: Things to Do in January 1940

In January 1940, Palm Springs didn't have a film festival but a high calber tennis tournament featuring Miss Marble.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Palm Springs Life's Women in Business

Palm Springs Life's Women in Business

Winner profiles will be highlighted in a special section in Palm Springs Life’s May 2016 issue. Nominate Your Top Women in Business!
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2016.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2016 Grand Experience
Edit ModuleShow Tags