The Unofficial History Of Deepwell

Chapter Two

The earliest residents of the valley were the Agua Caliente tribe of the Mission band of Cahuilla Indians and later the Mexicans. They called this desert “The hollow of God’s Hand” (La Palma de la Mano de Dios). I like that better than “God’s waiting room” as some call it today. A small Indian village with about 15 acres planted in figs and grapes excited here in the Deepwell area. In 1880, two white men, W.E. Van Slyke and M. Byrne of San Bernardino purchased the first Palm Springs ranch land form an Indian, Pedro Chino. These first speculators sold John McCallum a fifth interest in their accumulated 320 acres. He, in turn, leased land to a Welwood Murray for a small wood and adobe hotel to be built in 1886. Water moved 19 miles across the desert via a stone-walled canal called the Whitewater Ditch. Many fruit orchards were planted.

Promoters developed the area with two syndicates being formed. McCallum and three other men formed the “Palm Valley Land and Water Company.” “The Southern California Land and Immigration Company” was the other. The area called Smoke Tree Ranch today was originally developed as “Palmdale.” Early prosperity slowed to a trickle with an eleven year drought starting in 1894. Many settlers left the area.
This brief foundation of Palm Springs as a community will be followed in our next issue with the development of the Deepwell Ranch Estates.
More detailed information covering the pioneer days are handsomely displayed at the Village Green Heritage Center in the center of downtown Palm Springs. Again, I appreciate any information about celebrities who lived in Deepwell for part 4 of this history.


   
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