In the late-19th century and early-20th century (1880–1920), agriculture developed in present-day La Quinta and “East Valley” by pre-modern (mountain water runoff or open water springs) and modern irrigation techniques.
In 1926, Walter Morgan established the La Quinta Resort at the northern section of Marshall Cove as a type of secluded hideaway for nearby Hollywood’s celebrities and socialites. The Resort was the site for the Coachella Valley’s first golf course, coinciding with the construction and pavement of State Route 111 in the 1930s. Further expansion of Washington Street in the 1950s and 1960s connected La Quinta with US Highways 60 and 99 which became I-10 in the 1970s.
As nearby desert cities grew to capacity, La Quinta’s growth rose dramatically by the mid-1980s, which led to its incorporation as a city in 1982. Once predominantly a part-time community until the early-1990s, more full-time residents live in La Quinta making it more populous than Palm Springs. The population now is approximately 40,000.
La Quinta has a total area of 35.6 square miles. The city’s elevation is 56 feet above sea level. The landscape was formerly a lake shore of prehistoric Lake Cahuilla which evaporated about 5,000 years ago. The most prominent feature of the La Quinta area is its Santa Rosa Mountains.
The city enjoys a healthy tourism industry, especially during the cooler winter months in which “snowbirds” tourists arrive. The most prominent industry is golfing with more than twenty golf courses.
There are 14,820 households, and there are 23,489 housing units. The median income for a household in the city is over $75,000, and the median income for a family is over $82,000. Temporary population known as snowbirds from Coastal California urban areas, the Pacific Northwest and Canada increase the local population by 50–90% in the winter months from November to April.
La Quinta is the new kid on the block with an average home age of only 10 years. Over 93% of the housing is single family homes. Almost 5% are mobile homes and the rest are condos.