Indio, California

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City of Indio
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The City of Festivals
Motto: "The place to be"[1]
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Coordinates: 33°43′12″N 116°13′55″W / 33.72°N 116.23194°W / 33.72; -116.23194
Country United States
State California
 • Total29.189 sq mi (75.600 km2)
 • Land29.181 sq mi (75.579 km2)
 • Water0.008 sq mi (0.021 km2)  0.03%
Elevation-13 ft (-4 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total76,036
 • Density2,600/sq mi (1,000/km2)
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes92201-92203
Area code(s)760
FIPS code06-36448
GNIS feature ID1652727
WebsiteCity of Indio
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City of Indio
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The City of Festivals
Motto: "The place to be"[1]
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Coordinates: 33°43′12″N 116°13′55″W / 33.72°N 116.23194°W / 33.72; -116.23194
Country United States
State California
 • Total29.189 sq mi (75.600 km2)
 • Land29.181 sq mi (75.579 km2)
 • Water0.008 sq mi (0.021 km2)  0.03%
Elevation-13 ft (-4 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total76,036
 • Density2,600/sq mi (1,000/km2)
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes92201-92203
Area code(s)760
FIPS code06-36448
GNIS feature ID1652727
WebsiteCity of Indio

Indio is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California's Colorado Desert region. It lies 26 miles (42 km) east of Palm Springs, 70 miles (113 km) east of Riverside, and 125 miles (201 km) east of Los Angeles. It is about 86 miles (138 km) north of Mexicali, Baja California on the U.S.-Mexican border. The word Indio is Spanish for Indian.

The population was 76,036 in the 2010 United States Census, up from 49,116 at the 2000 census, an increase of over 50%, and well above the approx. 10% growth for the U.S. during the same decade. Indio was once referred to as "the Hub of the Valley", the city Chamber of Commerce jingle in the 1970s. Since then, it has become an exurb town of economic value and sunbelt growth potential in the easternmost urbanized area of Southern California.[citation needed]



The City of Indio came about because of the need of a halfway point for the Southern Pacific Railroad between Yuma, Arizona and Los Angeles. The engines needed to be cleaned of all of the sand taken in and re-filled with water. At first, the-would-be city was called Indian Wells,[3]:292 but because of so many other areas already called that, Indio – after a Spanish variation of the word “Indian” – was chosen. After the railroad's arrival in 1876, Indio really started to take root. The first permanent building was the craftsman style Southern Pacific Depot station and hotel. Southern Pacific tried to make life as comfortable as it could for their workers in order to keep them from leaving such a difficult area to live in at the time. It was at the same the center of all social life in the desert with a fancy dining room and hosting dances on Friday nights.[4]

While Indio started as a railroad town, it developed into an agricultural area shortly after. Onions, cotton, grapes, citrus and dates thrived in the arid climate due to the ingenuity of farmers finding various means of attaining water; first through artesian wells and later through the valley’s branch of the All-American Canal. However, water also was a major problem for Indio and the city was flooded several times until the storm water canals were created throughout the Coachella Valley.[5]

Businessmen and women found this last frontier land of the continental United States as an ideal place to start fresh. Dr. Harry Smiley and his wife Nell were early residents and stayed in Indio after their car broke down on the way to Los Angeles and became people of influence and helped shape the area. A.G. Tingman was an early storeowner and first Postmaster of Indio, but also well known for taking advantage of miners as they headed to the mountains, selling at rather high prices. Later Dr. June Robertson McCarroll became a leading philanthropist as well as successful doctor in Indio. She was responsible along with the Indio Woman’s Club for pressing California into adopting the placing of white lines down the streets after she nearly got hit one too many times by passing vehicles. But even though these early founders of the city are considered pioneers, they still partook in the lifestyles of their friends living in such areas as Los Angeles. Indio established itself quickly and kept up with all the trends as they were brought in by the railroads.[6]

At the turn of the 20th century, Indio was already an area that was not going to be a fading railroad town. Schools were built, the La Casita hospital provided medical services, and families established roots. This was the growth of a city, not just a railroad town.

By 1920, about one to two thousand year round residents lived in Indio, while it can double to 2,500 to 5,000 during the winter months and was advertised as a health resort for senior citizens and those with respiratory diseases and ailments in the rest of the 20th century.[citation needed]

Indio also served as the home of the USDA’s Date Station, a place where leading scientific research was taking place on the fruit that would become a major part of the culture of Indio. The station started in 1907 and was responsible for the ability of local farmers to better understand this unique crop and make the Coachella Valley a leader in American date crops. This also created a special tie of Indio to the Middle East that continues today. This also led to the one of a kind theme for our County Fair with the Middle Eastern flair.[5]

It was not long before Coachella and Thermal were larger cities than Indio, but Indio remained the “Hub of the Valley,” as it was so called. With the burning of the majority of Thermal and the decline of Coachella, Indio grew again. By 1930 Indio was a thriving area and incorporated. On September 6, 1930, storekeeper Fred Kohler received the first business license in Indio.

It was also aided by the visiting soldiers from Patton’s training grounds in Chiriaco Summit located 30 miles to the east.[citation needed] However, Indio saw another decline as the valley’s population begin to move west towards newer cities such as Palm Desert. However, now there is a reversal in this trend and the eastern section of the valley is poised to once again become the center of the Coachella Valley.[7]

The city had significant unemployment rates (in some cases over 20 percent) in the late 20th century and from the Late-2000s recession[citation needed]. The rate in 2006 was under 5 percent after the local economy rebounded in the real estate boom when more affluent residents moved in.[citation needed] The rapid population growth fuelled the city's present need for employment opportunities.


Indio is located at 33°43′12″N 116°13′55″W / 33.72°N 116.23194°W / 33.72; -116.23194 (33.719871, -116.231889).[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 75.6 square kilometers (29 sq mi), 99.97% of which is land and 0.03% is water.

The telephone area code is 760. The city's Zip codes are 92201 and 92203 north of Interstate 10. About 3 miles (5 km) north and east of Indio is the San Andreas Fault, a major tectonic plate boundary of the Pacific and North American plates.

Indio has the Riverside county's eastern branch offices, because Indio was historically the main population center of the Coachella valley, except when Palm Springs had more people from 1955 to 1992, when the US census announced Indio surpassed Palm Springs and that title was returned to them. The official elevation of Indio is below sea level; the city hall is 14 feet (4 m) below sea level, as the Eastern half of the Coachella valley drops as low as 150 feet (50 m) below sea level (the lake shore of the Salton Sea is 15 miles (24 km) South of Indio).


The climate of the Coachella Valley is influenced by the surrounding geography. High mountain ranges on three sides contribute to its unique and year-round warm climate, with some of warmest winters west of the Rocky Mountains. Indio has a warm winter/hot summer climate: Its average annual high temperature is 89.5 °F (31.9 °C) and average annual low is 62.1 °F (16.7 °C) but summer highs above 108 °F (42 °C) are common and sometimes exceed 120 °F (49 °C), while summer night lows often stay above 82 °F (28 °C). Winters are warm with daytime highs often between 68–86 °F (20–30 °C). Under 4 inches (100 mm) of annual precipitation are average, with over 348 days of sunshine per year. The hottest temperature ever recorded there was 125 °F (52 °C) on July 6, 1905.[9] The mean annual temperature is 75.8 °F (24.3 °C).[10]

Climate data for Indio, CA
Record high °F (°C)97
Average high °F (°C)71.9
Average low °F (°C)44.6
Record low °F (°C)13
Precipitation inches (mm)0.56

Nature and wildlife

Indio is in the Colorado Desert region of the Sonoran Desert. It is adjacent to the geologic Salton Sink and within the site of historic Lake Cahuilla of the Lower Colorado River Valley. Indio is an official National Bird Sanctuary, because of the seasonal bird migration flight routes that cross the town on route to the Salton Sea.


Historical populations


The 2010 United States Census[12] reported that Indio had a population of 76,036. The population density was 2,604.9 people per square mile (1,005.8/km²). The racial makeup of Indio was 46,735 (61.5%) White, 1,805 (2.4%) African American, 741 (1.0%) Native American, 1,693 (2.2%) Asian, 55 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 22,394 (29.5%) from other races, and 2,613 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51,540 persons (67.8%).

The Census reported that 75,087 people (98.8% of the population) lived in households, 365 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 584 (0.8%) were institutionalized.

There were 23,378 households, out of which 10,522 (45.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,149 (56.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,578 (15.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,512 (6.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,654 (7.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 232 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,859 households (16.5%) were made up of individuals and 1,777 (7.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21. There were 18,239 families (78.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.60.

The population was spread out with 22,879 people (30.1%) under the age of 18, 7,247 people (9.5%) aged 18 to 24, 20,705 people (27.2%) aged 25 to 44, 15,793 people (20.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,412 people (12.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.2 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

There were 28,971 housing units at an average density of 992.5 per square mile (383.2/km²), of which 15,274 (65.3%) were owner-occupied, and 8,104 (34.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.5%. 46,780 people (61.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 28,307 people (37.2%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 49,116 people, 13,871 households, and 11,069 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,840.3 people per square mile (710.5/km²). There were 16,909 housing units at an average density of 633.6 per square mile (244.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.4% White, 2.8% Black, 1.0% Native American, 1.5% Asian American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 42.0% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 65.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,871 households out of which 48.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.2% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.5 and the average family size was 3.9.

In the city the population was spread out with 35.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 15.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,624, and the median income for a family was $35,564. Males had a median income of $25,651 versus $21,093 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,525. About 16.8% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Hispanic enclave

Indio and the nearby city of Coachella has one of California's highest percentage of Hispanics; about 70-75% of Indio's residents are of Hispanic origin. Coachella is 95 percent, a very dense enclave of Hispanic/Mexican-American culture.[14]

In addition to Mexican Americans, Indio also a large percentage (from 25 to 30%) of Hispanic groups from other countries (in order): El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador.

The Mexican American presence in Indio dates back for over a century since the arrival of Traqueros or railroad laborers employed by Southern Pacific settled in Indio by 1910. The need for farm labor, construction, golf resorts and domestic jobs in the Palm Springs area is responsible for turning Indio to a magnet for Mexican immigrants.

Indio had a history of ethnic segregation patterns, when Hispanics tend to live apart from Anglos, for three generations, until the 1980s/90s when Hispanics began to move anywhere without discrimination or restriction.[14]

Population growth

In the past quarter a century (from 1984 to 2008), Indio has grown many times its previous size. Indio handles unprecedented growth for being a select area of choice for thousands of new residents per year: an estimated 25 new residents are added per day. City leaders and other locals are expanding city public services, including recreation activities, commercial retail centers and industrial complexes.

The 2010 United States Census recorded the city's population to be about 76,000 residents, but some believe that this figure underestimates seasonal residents and recent-arriving immigrants.


Two major contributions to the local economy are year-round agriculture and tourism, although the majority of tourist activity is seasonal between October and May.


Indio has been one of Southern California's most important agricultural regions, once responsible for a large percentage of the nation's date crop; however, with all the new residential and recreational development, the date groves are now more limited to south and southeast of Indio. Even the grove of date palms at the Riverside County Date Festival fairgrounds has been torn out by the county.[citation needed]

Travelers from around the world still can stop by Shields Date Gardens, a date grower that maintains a large retail store along State Highway 111 in Indio. There are citrus groves and vegetable fields surrounding the city limits, but rapid development of new housing tracts and golf courses in the "East Valley" in the 1990s and 2000s has displaced most of the agricultural space.

Employment and job growth

In recent years, Indio served as a magnet of job opportunities for immigrants, and newcomers from parts of California and across the nation. Job fields, such as agriculture, construction, hospitality (hotel resorts), maintenance, and retail and housekeeping are highly needed in the area.

In fact light industry is not a new thing in Indio. In the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, the Bank of America-owned Giannini Research Institute, Kaiser Inc. and Cabazon Firearms had contracts with both NASA and the US Armed Forces that produced ammunition, computer parts, moon rover parts for the Apollo landing probe program and railroad train engines for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Indio sought more corporate businesses and office professions, like fruit packing and shipping firms. Locally-based United States Filter Corporation, Guy Evans Inc., Dimare Fruit Co., West Coast Turf and Japanese-owned Sun World Inc.; and move-in companies such as Borden, Coca-Cola, Ernie Ball, Ernst and Young, Ferguson, Fulton Distributors, Guthy-Renker, Konami, Pulte Homes, Sunrise Company, SunScape Tech and Tala Industries choose Indio for the location of transport routes, low economical costs and growth potential.

Top employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of Employees
1County of Riverside1,351
2Desert Sands Unified School District1,090
3John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital530
4City of Indio308
5Boulder West Components200
6Tidwell Concrete Construction110
7Mathis Brothers104
8The Home Depot103
9La Hacienda Nursery & Landscape76
10PHP Contracting60

Native American gaming

Two Native American owned casinos in and near Indio are the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians[16] and the Spotlight 29 Casino, owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.[17]

Arts and culture

Annual events

Because there are numerous festivals and special events held annually in Indio, the Chamber of Commerce deemed Indio's official nickname to be: "The City of Festivals." Year round, the Date Festival/County Fairgrounds' Grandstand Arena Stadium is the site for live music concerts (mostly amateur bands), 4x4 monster truck rallies, rodeo or horse riding events, and camel races during the National Date Festival.

Two major annual festivals are the National Date Festival and the Indio International Tamale Festival. Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is held each February at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, located at Highway 111 in the heart of Indio. Since 1947, this festival has celebrated the date fruit crop of the Coachella Valley. The Tamale Festival is held each December on the streets of Old Town Indio and has earned two Guinness World Records: the largest tamale festival (120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2-3, 2000) and the world's largest tamale, [over 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter and 40 feet (12.2 m) in length], created by Chef John Sedlar. The 2006 Guinness Book calls the festival "the world's largest cooking and culinary festival."[citation needed]

Starting in 1999, Indio has hosted the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field. In May 2007, Goldenvoice, promoters of the Coachella, started Stagecoach, a two-day country music festival held the weekend following the Coachella. Performers have included George Strait, Kenny Chesney, the Eagles, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, and Kid Rock. Indio is also the site of the annual Southwest Arts Festival, the Cabazon Indian National Pow Wow, the Palm Springs Kennel Club's Annual Dog Show at the Empire Polo Club, the Family Motor Coach Association's Annual Western Region RV Rally at the Fairgrounds, and the U.S. Field Hockey Association's annual Hockey Festival held every November.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is located in Indio.[18]

Points of interest

The Coachella Valley History Museum and Cultural Center [1] on Miles Avenue in Indio, has a two acre campus, which currently includes the Smiley-Tyler House, built in 1926, the 1909 Schoolhouse, and the Date Museum dedicated to the history and development of the fruit (the only date museum in the world), plus gardens and archives preserving historical artefacts of the Coachella Valley.

Indio Hills Palms, state park property, are native California fan palms that thrive in many locations but rarely in such numbers as in the canyons of the Indio Hills. Here, along a line where the San Andreas fault captures groundwater that nurtures the palms, is a wild parkland which is part of the adjacent Coachella Valley Preserve. The park contains some fine native palm groves that include Indian, Hidden, Pushawalla, Biskra, Macomber and Horseshoe palms. The nearest palm groves are relatively easy to reach from the trailhead and parking area 4 miles (6 km) north of Indio. There are currently no marked access roads to the property.

Indio's old town historic mural program

In the fall of 1996 the Indio Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to develop a Historic Mural Project to help revitalize the local economy at the time of the statewide economic recession, as Indio was one of California's most economically affected areas at the time. This concept is not new. Several communities have benefited from similar programs, such as Chemainus, Canada; El Paso, Texas; and Eureka, Bishop, Needles, & 29 Palms in California, as well the famous Chicano Park mural to commemorate Hispanic-American life in Barrio Logan, San Diego in the late 1970s.[citation needed]

It began with a suggestion to start a mural project first brought to the city by David Hernandez, a former Indio city council member, after he visited Chemainus. Very little happened with this concept until 1996, when the Riverside County National Date Festival's executive director Bruce Latta and commissioned artist Bill Weber of San Francisco to paint a mural of the Taj Mahal on the Taj Mahal (Garden of Allah) building at the fairgrounds. At the same time, local businessman Bruce Clark, who was instrumental in promoting Historic U.S. Route 99 (Indio Blvd.) to its former status as the Main Street of California, brought the mural idea forward again, after seeing the success of a similar program in 29 Palms. When Clark presented the idea to the chamber board of directors, the timing and membership was right and the idea was immediately recognized as something that could provide a major impact on city economics, pride and tourism. Indio since now has ten murals about the city's history and development on the sides of various buildings in old town.


In the state legislature Indio is located in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Denise Moreno Ducheny, and in the 80th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Manuel Perez. Federally, Indio is located in California's 45th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3[19] and is represented by Republican Mary Bono Mack. Riverside County’s East branch offices are located in Indio.[citation needed]

The growth in population increased political representation, as the area (including Palm Desert, California) are covered by the 45th and 46th US congressional, and 64th and 80th state assembly districts, created by each city's partisan majorities (Monroe Street and Interstate 10, where the elevation is sea level, also is a political representative boundary-mostly Democrat to the east, mostly Republican west), signified the city's socioeconomic divide, replaced the older north/south divide of Indio Boulevard and State Route 111. Recently, Interstate 10 from Monroe street to the Cabazon Indian Reservation became another socioeconomic divide.

According to the Riverside County board of voter registration, the majority of moved-in(younger) registered voters are affiliated with the Democratic party, while large portions of the Coachella Valley (except Palm Springs) tend to affiliate with the Republican political party. In recent years, new suburban residents (mostly retired transplants) are usually Republican, while longtime residents (mostly Hispanic) tend to be Democrat.[citation needed]


Indio is served by two public school districts: Desert Sands Unified and on the city's south eastern corner, Coachella Valley Unified. Desert Sands' headquarters is located in La Quinta.

Indio's six elementary and two middle schools are highly rated under the California Distinguished Schools program. Because of Indio's growing population and above-average number of young people with families, the two school districts are expanding, with plans on building more schools, along with remodeling the older ones with new buildings and designs.

Schools in or near Indio:

Desert Sands Unified

Coachella Valley Unified schools

Private schools

Grace Academy (K-8), Indio Christian Center (1-12), River Springs Charter School (K-12), Our Lady of Perpetual Help (PK-8), Trinity Lutheran Child Development Center (PK, K) and Christian School of the Desert (PK-12), located in nearby Bermuda Dunes.

Higher Education

In 2002, College of the Desert, or C.O.D., the valley's community college, opened an East valley campus facility in the Riverside County Employment Developmental Center located on Monroe Street. Recently, it has expanded its classes to a new "East Valley" Educational center in Mecca.

Riverside County has a Regional Occupational Program facility in Indio that provides vocational educational courses in the Coachella valley's job market.

The California Desert Trial Academy School of Law was approved by the California State Bar as an unaccredited fixed facility law school in Indio and is expected to open for classes in September 2012.[20]


The Indio Date Palm[21] was an early paper established in 1912 by John Winfield (J. Win) Wilson.[22]

Three daily newspapers serve Indio, the Desert Sun, Riverside-based the Press-Enterprise and the Los Angeles Times are available in markets, coffee shops and book stores. Indio is served by several free weekly publications, as well as The Sun Runner Magazine, based out of Joshua Tree, but covering the California desert region.

Indio has ten local television stations serving the Coachella Valley, and six Spanish-language networks (local or regional affiliates like KUNA-LP and KVER-CA), some are over-air signals from Mexico. About eight Los Angeles television stations are available on cable and satellite service.

Three out of 20 Palm Springs area's radio stations are licensed to Indio: KESQ 1400 AM (in Spanish) owned by KESQ-TV/KDFX-CA, KKUU 92.7 FM (Urban/Hip-hop/R&B) owned by Morris Communications, and smooth jazz KJJZ 102.3 FM owned by RM Broadcasting. However, none of the stations have their offices or studios in Indio. KESQ is located in Palm Desert; both KKUU and KJJZ are located in Palm Springs.

Public safety

Unlike the majority of Riverside County's cities, Indio has a city run police department where police services are provided.

Indio has a regional Sheriff Station and one of Riverside County's five detention facilities. The Sheriff Station's deputies patrol the municipalities of La Quinta and Coachella.

Indio contracts out for fire protection and emergency medical services (EMS) with the Riverside County Fire Department through a cooperative agreement with CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). Indio has 4 fire stations utilizing 4 engine companies, 3 paramedic ambulances and 1 truck company.



Bermuda Dunes Airport (FAA designator: UDD) is on the north-western border of Indio, along I-10 just west of Jefferson Street. It has a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) runway and serves small private planes, air carriers and commuter jets. The Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal just a few minutes from Indio is named for the famous 1920s pilot and Indio resident and used for cargo planes to ship agricultural products, also on the four-lane California State Route 86S expressway or the "NAFTA highway" (in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement) for international traffic.

The Greyhound and Amtrak passenger buses have a highly-used bus depot in downtown Indio, where buses stop by regularly on the way to stops in Southern California, Arizona and the Mexican border. A recently-approved plan for a new transportation center for Greyhound and Amtrak will break ground and open for service as early as Sep. 2010. The city is part of the local SunBus line, which services much of the Coachella Valley.[23] Its substation is located on Highway 111 and Golf Center Drive, part of business route 10 that connects Indio and Coachella.

Health care

John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital is a General Acute Care Hospital in Indio with Basic Emergency Services as of 2006.[24] One of three hospitals in the Coachella Valley, JFK hospital boasts to being one of the state's busiest maternity wards and in 2005, opened a new maternity center in part of hospital expansion plan for more surgical rooms, intensive care units and a new concrete emergency heliport. The Indio (renamed John F. Kennedy) hospital opened in a new location in 1983 on land donated by hospital co-founder Dr. Reynaldo J. Carreon.[25]

Parks and recreation

The city of Indio has 11 public parks (all operated by the City of Indio), a city-operated park near the municipal golf course, a community recreation center, a new senior center located one block from the new teen center located across from Indio High school and a Desert Park wildlife refuge north of 40th and 42nd Avenues.[citation needed]

Notable natives and residents

Pop culture

Indio has appeared in movies, television and music.

The city's namesake appeared on a circus poster in a fast food joint scene of the 1990 comedy movie Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. A little league record-holding batter from Indio was one of the talented youth athletes on the intro of sports comedy movie Jerry Maguire.

Indio was also the site of an episode of Monster Garage in which a Ford Mustang convertible was converted into a lawn mower. Huell Howser's state travel show California Gold stopped by "Old Town Indio" to report on the city's older dwellings had swamp coolers for permanent residents to stay cool in the summer.

The Jackie & Bender morning show's Harry Potter E! True Hollywood Story parody mentions Indio as the town that Harry Potter is arrested in during a Meth lab bust.

On October 11, 1991 Jimmy Swaggart was pulled over into an Indio gas station off Indio Blvd. Swaggart was with the company of a prostitute that admitted that Swaggart had propositioned for sex.[citation needed] There is a plaque marking the gas station where Swaggart was arrested.

Indio was a location for film, The Beast with a Million Eyes, starring Dona Cole and Chester Conklin.[27]

An episode of the animated The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show titled The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam announces the upcoming second installment of the episode as Rimsky & Korsakov Go to Palm Springs, or Song of Indio.

Indio was mentioned 3 times on the Phil Hendrie Show radio comedy, once about the bus station, a car wash business and a grocery store that the host made jokes about his travels in the city.

ABC's Scoundrels is set in Indio and other Desert Cities' however, it is being filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Big 4 of thrash metal, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax played the first U.S. Big 4 show at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.

"Indio" is the opening track on the 2012 album 'Coyote' by Matt Mays. It makes reference to "some of that old fashioned California sin".

"Indio" was the name chosen by Canadian folk singer Gordon Peterson's environmental project album, "Big Harvest" (1989). The name came to Peterson in the desert, when he decided to drive down to Mexico, and Indio was the last town before the border.


The annual National Date Festival's main attraction is the nightly musical pageant Arabian Nights in an open air amphitheater of the grandstand arena. After the National Date festival, a "SuperFiesta del Sinaloa" follows to honor Indio's historic ties with the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a large source of local immigration. A great amount of immigrants also come from the Mexican state of Michoacán, especially from the municipalities of Jiquilpan, Sahuayo and even from small communities such as La Lagunita and Paredones.[citation needed]

In Octtober 2006, Indio approved a US Olympic Team training facility (for basketball and ice skating) though not yet broke ground for construction, may be open to the public.

The Landmark Golf Club opened in 1998 had the Skins Game for four years. It is now known as Terra Lago and includes the residential community of Terra Lago. Indio has several other golf courses: such as the Plantation, Heritage Palms, Sun City Shadow Hills, Indian Springs and Indian Palms. The Indio (municipal) Golf Club is the second longest par-3 executive course in the USA. The course is open until 10:00 pm thanks to the new lighting upgrades.

It has two world famous polo clubs: Empire and Eldorado on the city's southwestern end that hold annual polo and special events. The Prince of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York were seen in the polo clubs.[citation needed]

The local electricity provider, Imperial Irrigation District wasn't affected by the 2000-01 California energy crisis, residents pay 65% less on their electric bills than neighbors to the west, under Southern California Edison. In 2001, Forbes magazine designated Indio west of Monroe street (and nearby La Quinta, Bermuda Dunes and Indian Wells, all the way to Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs) as one of America's wealthiest areas.

In 1999, Larry Fortensky one of actress Elizabeth Taylor's husbands, was arrested for drug possession near Indio. In the following year (2000), actor Robert Downey Jr. attended trial for drug possession (he was in Palm Springs) in the Larson Justice Center county court house with media coverage.[citation needed]

Indio wants to have a minor league baseball team, which they attempted to get a team in the 1990s and 2000s. They have Shalimar Stadium used for horse races and the Date Festival camel races. They need an upgrade like facility renovation and expansion of a number of seats.

Sister cities

Also the city had a chamber of commerce relationship with the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Indio had city-to-city economic exchange programs with San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico in the Sister Cities International (SCI) program. There are similar inter-city exchange agreements with Lynwood, California; Farmington, Minnesota; and American Fork, Utah in the U.S., and officials from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games visited the 2010 National Date Festival to promote the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada area.


  1. ^ "City of Indio, California". City of Indio, California. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ U.S. Census
  3. ^ Lech, Steve (2004). Along the Old Roads: A History of the Portion of Southern California that became Riverside County: 1772–1893. Riverside, CA: Steve Lech. pp. 902. OCLC 56035822. 
  4. ^ Coachella Valley Water District: Coachella Valley's Golden Years.
  5. ^ a b Indio, by Pat Laflin
  6. ^ Persicope: The History of Indio, CVHSI publication
  7. ^ Coachella Valley's Golden Years', 2nd edition. Coachella Valley Water District
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ NOAA. "1981-2010 MONTHLY NORMALS for Indio, CA". NOAA. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  12. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ City of Indio CAFR
  16. ^ Fantasy Springs Resort: Press Room
  17. ^ Spotlight 29: About us
  18. ^ "Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino". RTLK Associates. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  20. ^ DeBenedictis, Don J. (July 12, 2012). "New law school to focus on advocacy". Los Angeles Daily Journal: p. 5. 
  21. ^ OCLC 317971047 and 30339939
  22. ^ Lech, Steve (2012). For Tourism and a Good Night's Sleep: J. Win Wilson, Wilson Howell, and the Beginnings of the Pines-to-Palms Highway. Riverside, CA: Steve Lech. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-9837500-1-7. 
  23. ^ Book-web
  24. ^ California Department of Health Services
  25. ^ Carreon Foundation
  26. ^ Vanessa Marcil Bio – Vanessa Marcil Biography – Vanessa Marcil Stories
  27. ^ The Beast with a Million Eyes at the American Film Institute Catalog

External links