Explore Palm Springs: City of Swimming Pools

By the mid-1960s, city had more than 2,000

Nicolette Wenzell History



The history of Palm Springs is celebrated within the walls of the Palm Springs Historical Society.

Located in downtown Palm Springs in the oldest building remaining in Palm Springs (built in 1884 for Palm Springs first white settlers, the McCallum family) the space now serves as a quaint museum, capturing Palm Springs’ unique past with exhibits and photographs.

A brand new exhibit for the year is a collection of numerous photographs and objects dedicated to Palm Springs swimming pools. By 1955, the city already boasted more than 900 pools. Less than a decade later, Palm Springs could claim the highest per capita pool rate, one for every six residents or a staggering 2,000 pools.

The popularity of swimming pools was also reflected in the substantial number of postcards that featured them in brilliant color, advertising campaigns that showcased beautiful people frolicking in crystal clear water, and magazines printing cover stories depicting poolside scenes.

Additionally, hotels and inns featured their swimming pools on the front of their brochures to entice visitors to their establishments. Pools have long been synonymous with Palm Springs and continue to be one of the most popular Palm Springs activities.

Also available inside the McCallum Adobe are several more exhibits including: Desert Circus, Toys and Objects from Palm Springs' First Settlers, Palm Springs Promotional Brochures: 1900-1980, John G. McCallum Family: The First White Settlers in Palm Springs, Artists, Palm Springs Villager Magazine, Palm Springs Swimming Pools, What is Adobe?, and Desert Modernists.

The McCallum Adobe, 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013.

One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

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


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