Explore Palm Springs: Gerald and Betty Ford

Fords keep ties between White House, Coachella Valley going

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In 1978, after leaving the White House, Gerald and Betty Ford built a house in Thunderbird Country Club next door to his good friend, Leonard Firestone, the former ambassador to Belgium.

The former president stated in a 1999 article in Vanity Fair that the Fords had looked for a winter home in Pebble Beach, Fla., but they felt that the drier temperatures would work better for them because of Betty Ford’s arthritis.

Firestone was instrumental in helping Betty Ford open the Betty Ford Center In 1982.

Betty Ford spent time almost every day that she was in the desert at the Betty Ford Center speaking with patients who were being treated for alcoholism and drug addiction.

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. Visit for more information.

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