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ellie99 June 18th, 2006 12:35 PM

Is Palm Springs on Indian land?
I've heard a rumor that Palm Springs is on Indian land and that homeowners have to lease the land under them. Is this true?

David J Castello June 18th, 2006 12:41 PM

Is Palm Springs on Indian Land?
Yes and No.
In 1876, Pacific Railroad laid the tracks between Los Angeles and Yuma, Arizona. The U.S. government deeded the Agua Caliente 52,000 acres throughout the Coachella Valley (6,700 acres lie within the city of Palm Springs). The government gave the railroad a checkerboard of every square mile of land for 10 miles on either side of the railroad right-of-way. The Agua Caliente tribe got the non-Pacific Railroad owned squares.
This arrangement is extremely unique. Most Native American reservations across the United States were located outside of areas that became city limits. The city of Palm Springs is built on a "checkerboard" consisting of alternating Indian and non-Indian land. It may sound a little unsettling from a real estate perspective, but these are long term land leases that are commonly renewed well in advance of their expiration dates (it would be a public relations nightmare if they were not). Judging by the skyrocketing Palm Springs real estate prices, this unique situation has done nothing to slow the appreciation of property values.

David J Castello History Editor

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