frank bogert

Explore Palm Springs: Frank Bogert

Even before he became mayor of Palm Springs, Bogert was the real deal comboy and promoted the city's western atmosphere.

Tracy Conrad Current Digital, History

frank bogert
Frank Bogert rode into the village of Palm Springs in 1927, herding 60 horses from Wrightwood, California.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The American West was associated with cowboys and their accouterment from the beginning of the country’s expansion into the west. It was no different in the little dusty village of Palm Springs. Frank Bogert rode into the village of Palm Springs in 1927, herding 60 horses from Wrightwood, California.

He set up shop and began offering trail rides for $1. A real cowboy, Frank promoted the western atmosphere of Palm Springs and the movie stars who were here enjoying it. Snapping pictures of famous guests at the El Mirador Hotel, Bogert had the novel idea of sending the images off to various newspapers around the world, helping to establish Palm Springs on the world map.

In the process, he struck up lasting friendships with the Hollywood stars regularly escaping to the desert including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and other famous cowboys, Will Rogers and Gene Autry. By the middle of the 20th century, the cowboy code was being replaced by a fascination with the space age. The cowboy culture was supplanted by avant guard architecture and sleek minimalist fashion.

Frank Bogert, mayor by then, watched the transition. Many years later he was quoted in the Los Angeles Times regretting the change in style, “I don’t like modern, fancy, dad-gum buildings.”

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turns 81 in 2019. 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 that often corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.

• Looking for more historically based stories? Visit our History page for more.