A nostalgic look at a missing welcome…
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – Some things simply tell their own story. Such as the welcome sign to the city. We had one and it’s gone.
It stood on the corner of Palm and Via Campaneros which once defined the boundary of our southernmost city limits. The city annexed a lot of land increasing the size of the city but the welcome sign was near where it seemed civilization really began.
We miss being welcomed by our funky sign that stood for decades. It’s origins are rumored that it was built by volunteers from our local Rotary organization. They didn’t remove it. The city’s former city manager, Rick Daniels, had it torn down. Now the spot is vacant with no one welcomed to Desert Hot Springs.
Somehow our city’s welcome sign escaped the vandalism our signs and buildings too frequently suffer from. True, our old welcome sign needed a little care and repair from time to time. That can be expected for an old sign. Perhaps it was because it was our city’s welcome sign that made a little more special and somewhat immune to the plague.
Our city council never discussed tearing down our welcome sign. The subject never came before our Planning Commission or the Community and Cultural Affairs Commission. Nope. It was torn down in secret. One day it was there, the next it was gone.
It’s a subconscious thing. The lack of a welcome sign might make some wonder if people are welcome in Desert Hot Springs, but we all know they are.
The first welcoming sign
We thought it might be of interest to share a picture of our city’s very first welcome sign, put up in the 1950’s. It’s primitive style is reminiscent of the Palm Springs sign on the corner of Vista Chino and Gene Autry Trail. Palm Springs spent $3 million in Stimulus Funds landscaping for their welcome sign at that location.
For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 3 million readers worldwide.
Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.
Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.