cathedral city

Explore Palm Springs: Cathedral City Curbs

Thanks to a joint effort of city, state, and citizen groups, Cathedral City got its sidewalks, gutters, and curbs paid for along Highway 111.

Renee Brown History

cathedral city
Decorated for the holidays — Highway 111 in Cathedral City circa 1950.

The businesses that lined Broadway, also known as Highway 111, in Cathedral City had to take it upon themselves to construct curbs and gutters on the main street running through their business district.

The part of Highway 111 between Cathedral Canyon and Date Palm Drive had been controlled by the state of California after it was two-lane road that was paved in 1927. For decades the state controlled the highway and the county controlled the streets that intersected into the highway, and neither entity was interested in improving the roadway.

As the business district grew the Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce became active in constructing curbs and gutters along Broadway. They put together a plan that would have business owners put $2 per linear foot into a trust account to pay for the construction.

In November 1950, the Committee for the Beautification of Cathedral City came into existence. The group wanted to have flower gardens or mini-parks in the six triangles that would be left when the curbs were created. A compromise was reached between the Chamber of Commerce and the Beautification Committee and water lines were installed to each of the islands to be curbed between the angled streets and Broadway.

Due to the additional expenses to cover the sidewalks, water lines, and the refusal of three business owners to pay their share, more money was needed to complete the expanded project. The business community in Cathedral City decided to hold a “Fiesta” on Dec. 9, 1950 in the center of town. They raised sufficient funds to complete the project.

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turns 80 in 2018. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history. The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

Visit for more information.