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Historical Sites in Palm Springs, Death Valley and the California Desert

Things to do / Travel Guide

Take a journey through time by exploring the historical attractions of the California Desert. Long lost communities will come to life as visitors encounter ancient canyons, abandoned towns, and other artifacts from the region's past.

Don't miss one of the most popular restored ghost towns in the United States, east of Barstow. Calico Ghost Town is a living museum – reenactments, ghosts, and all.

Historical Attractions in Palm Springs

Palm Springs boasts a few unique attractions that offer a glimpse into the region's history. Indian Canyons, is home to the Agua Caliente tribe.
Visitors can explore the scenic canyons and view evidence of a thriving desert community going back thousands of years.

The McCallum Adobe houses a museum which provides visitors with a taste of frontier life and the history of Palm Springs and Coachella Valley.

Historical Attractions in the northern California Desert

Up in the northern reaches of the region, the town of Independence boasts a few preserved historical structures befitting its history as the seat of Inyo County ever since 1860. These include the Edwards House, built in 1861 (the oldest house in the county) and the striking commander's house, built in 1872 to house the commanders of the original Camp Independence, where today's town now stands. Visitors should also check out the Slim Princess in Dehy Park, located at the town's north entrance. A long-retired locomotive that last saw service in 1954, the Slim Princess has been restored and commemorates the history of rail workers and railroad travelers in the area.

Another famous (or infamous) historical site in the area is the Manzanar National Historic Site, the location of the United States' first internment camp built for Japanese Americans in WWII. The remains of a number of structures can still be seen, and these skeletal buildings, in combination with the stark remoteness of the area and the overwhelming silence and stillness of the site, can send a chill down your spine as you explore a monument from one of the darkest chapters in American history.

Historical Sites in Palm Springs, Death Valley and the California Desert

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