Cathedral City

Cathedral City is the second largest city in the Coachella Valley. Nestled between Palm Springs on the west and Rancho Mirage on the east, it is the destination of pleasant neighborhoods, championship golf courses, luxuriant country clubs, diverse shopping and infinite business potential.

Cathedral City received its name in 1850, when Colonel Henry Washington of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered that the area’s rock formations and canyons were reminiscent of a grand cathedral. Later, four developers from Los Angeles had the same impression of the land and envisioned its great potential. In 1925 they turned their visions into reality by constructing the area’s first official housing subdivision.

Locals have nicknamed it “Cat City”, short for Cathedral, although historians claim that the name came from the city’s reputation as a slinger gaming gulch in the late 19th century and a safe haven for bars and saloons during the prohibition of the 1920s. Many depression era nightclubs found a home in Cathedral City including the Dunes Club opened in 1931 by Al and Lou Wertheimer of the reputed Detroit “Purple Gang”. The Dunes Club paved the way for many others infamous nightclubs including the 139 Club and the Cove Club.

Cathedral City, much like the rest of the desert cities, provided a refuge for celebrities who escaped the control and watchful eye of Hollywood studios. They found freedom in the desert and transformed the area into their playground, as well as contributed to the rich history and development of the cities. Frank Sinatra, was one of those contributors and he, along with his celebrity buddies, was instrumental in raising donations to construct a church in the Cathedral City Cove. Frank’s mother, Dollie, attended services regularly at the church. In 1967 Frank Sinatra was granted the honor of being Cathedral City’s first honorary mayor.

Since the 1990s, Cathedral City has experienced a growth spurt of exponential proportions. The city’s directional growth differs from the other Coachella Valley cities as it is not positioning itself for only upscale development. It wants to appeal to a wide range of residents and to build a rich social fabric with families that will enjoy sharing their cultures and backgrounds throughout the community.

The downtown revitalization program started in the late 1990s, with much completed by 2005. The goal of the revitalization project was to create a “heart of the city”. As a result, the downtown core of the city is now a colorful and inviting, people friendly complex that houses City Hall, IMAX Theater, Mary Pickford Theater, shopping and restaurants. At the center lies a large stone sculptural fountain called the “fountain of life” which reflects the nature and history of the desert. The fountain has become a popular community gathering spot and a backdrop for civic events. The fountain was designed by local artist Jennifer Johnson.

Cathedral City is poised to welcome new business to the city and provides many opportunities for both commercial and residential growth.