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20 Fun And Interesting Facts About Rancho Mirage, California, United States

Rancho Mirage, also called Mirage, is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. Take a look below for 20 fun and interesting facts about Rancho Mirage, California, United States.

1. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal (part-time) population can exceed 20,000.

2. Incorporated in 1973 and located between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area).

3. It is home to and has been home to a number of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Billie Dove and Gerald and Betty Ford.

4. It is a low-density desert-resort community with resorts, golf courses, and country clubs in the Coachella Valley within the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert.

5. It is nestled along the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains in the south and is located between the cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert. It is adjacent to Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Thousand Palms.

6. It has been nicknamed “Playground of the Presidents” and “Golf Capital of the World.”

7. The city has hosted and currently hosts a variety of golf and tennis tournaments, including the Ryder Cup, Desert Classic (PGA Tour), Davis Cup, and the LPGA Tour (ANA Inspiration).

8. Native Americans came to the area 2,000 years ago. The local tribe in Rancho Mirage is the Agua Caliente Indian tribe of Cahuilla Indians. The tribe was almost annihilated by smallpox in 1862–63 but survived, establishing a resort and casino within the city limits.

9. An ancient Native-American trade route, the Halchidhoma trade route, follows the water holes and water springs along the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains. This trail is now partially California State Route 111 in Rancho Mirage.

10. The trade route originally reached from the Pacific Ocean in the west to central Arizona, and was used for centuries for trading, food, and for religious purposes. About 1,000 years ago, the local Cahuilla tribes were introduced to pottery from Native American tribes by the Colorado River. The Spaniards also knew of the Coco-Mariposa Trail in the 1820s when they would send letters by Cahuilla runners along the trail to the mission in Tucson, Arizona.

11. The natural environment in Rancho Mirage has supplied the Cahuilla people with various water sources. Although rare in such arid desert environments, the Cahuilla had access to Magnesia Spring in Magnesia Spring Canyon, which is 1.5 miles from Whitewater River. In addition, a variety of natural springs are situated along the San Andreas Fault line near Indio Hills.

12. Throughout the 1920s, the area was a desert area dotted with date and grape ranches. In 1928, 160 acres (65 ha) here were purchased by the Southland Land and Realty Company. Access was planned by camel on roads given North-African names, including Tunis Road, Tangier Road, and Sahara Road. The 1929 Depression put an end to the plans. A few years later, a Los Angeles realtor, Lawrence Macomber, purchased hundreds of acres here.

13. Along with Don Cameron, the two began offering property here advertised as “fifteen minutes from Palm Springs, CA.” They were able to attract actor Frank Morgan, among others, until the onset of World War II brought development to an end once again.

14. In 1944, hundreds of acres were bought by Major A. Ronald Button. He described it as “the most wind free area I could find in the desert.” Two years later, in 1946, Henry L. Gogerty established an airstrip here and later launched the Desert Air Hotel and Airpark.

15. The Annenberg Estate or ‘Sunnylands’, owned by philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, was popular with the wealthy and powerful, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Patrick Macnee, Zeppo Marx and Mary Martin. Several U.S. Presidents vacationed at the Annenberg estate, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. President Ford later bought a house in Rancho Mirage and was living there at the time of his death in 2006. The Betty Ford Center, an addiction rehabilitation center, is located in Rancho Mirage at the Eisenhower Medical Center. President Barack Obama also used Sunnylands for summit meetings with world leaders during his administration.

16. Some of the first places of accommodation to be established were the White Sun Guest Ranch and Wonder Palms Ranch, and later Desert Air Hotel and Thunderbird Ranch in the 1940s. The 320-acre Desert Air Hotel was purchased by the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club in the 1970s. Rancho Las Palmas has Spanish architecture consisting of wood walls, Saltillo tiles, and high ceilings. The resort, which is the city’s third-largest employer, is located on a 249-acre property in the center of Rancho Mirage, across Bob Hope Drive from The River, an outdoor shopping center. It has a 27-hole golf course.

17. Thunderbird Ranch, which opened in 1946, was purchased by Johnny Dawson, who established Coachella Valley’s first 18-hole golf course. Thunderbird Country Club was established in 1950, and the golf cart or electric golf cart is rumored to have been invented at Thunderbird. Ford Thunderbird is also named for the country club. Tamarisk Country Club soon followed in the 1950s, and later an array of country clubs were established in the city: Desert Island Golf and Country Club in 1971, Sunrise Country Club in 1974, Mission Hills Country Club in 1979, the Club at Morningside (1982), Rancho Mirage Country Club (1985), and Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa (1987). Rancho Mirage was incorporated in 1973 from a merger of five unincorporated areas known as the “Cove communities” (Rancho Mirage, Desert, Palmas, Tamarisk, and Thunderbird), and had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.

18. In 2001, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians established the Agua Caliente Casino on the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road off Interstate 10. It was the second casino to be built in the Coachella Valley. The casino is a popular destination for locals, tourists, and gambling enthusiasts. In 2008 the tribal board completed the expansion of the Agua Caliente resort, which includes a 16-story hotel and spa, as well as remodeling the casino and expanding the parking structures. A theater for top-name entertainers opened in 2009. Though the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino was just outside the border of Rancho Mirage in an unincorporated area, the City of Rancho Mirage included the property as part of the city in an agreement with the tribe so they would have access to police and firefighting services.

19. Rancho Mirage has expanded its economy from one based on seasonal, resort-based golfing and low-paying rentals, to include light industry and commerce near the I-10 and high-end retail centers like The River shopping complex.

20. A new residential development for senior citizens by Pulte Homes, Inc., known as Del Webb Rancho Mirage, will open in the year 2020. It is the third local development by the company after Sun City Palm Desert and Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio.

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