World War II
As World War II began, Gen. George Patton and his troops descended on the area, as it was a perfect training ground for the soldiers bound for the North African desert. Uniformed soldiers filled city streets and along with their wives, moved into downtown hotels. After World War II ended, Patton’s troops had long folded their tents and wheeled away in jeeps leaving just tracks in the sands midway between Palm Springs and Indio.
With an upswing in the economy, developer Cliff Henderson and his brother Randall had visions for this tract of empty desert as they literally began drawing new lines in the sand that later became the thriving resort city of Palm Desert.
One of Henderson’s first developments was Shadow Mountain Club, a mid-century modern stone, wood and glass clubhouse that half circled a gigantic figure-eight swimming pool. The recreational facility officially opened in December 1948 with a spectacular aquatics show. Club members and stockholders were courted with tours, parties and special events. With high dives, water slides and metal mushroom umbrellas, the pool and clubhouse perched overlooking the desert surrounded by snow- capped mountains. This breathtaking view was and still is an icon for attracting investors, businesses and residents to Palm Desert.
Year-round living was touted as early as 1956 when Shadow Mountain’s July Sun Spots newsletter featured the “huge pool a focus of summertime activity.”