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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Indian Wells in Riverside County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Indian Wells

 
 
Indian Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 29, 2015
1. Indian Wells Marker
Inscription. Honoring the memory of the early Cahuillan Indian Clans who dug the Indian well 400 feet back of this monument, and the pioneer settlers, prospectors and stage line passengers who camped at the county well, located 50 feet back of this monument. The county well, dug in 1870 and used until 1910 was for years the valley's only county established watering point.
 
Erected by the Coachella Valley Pioneer Society.
 
Location. 33° 43.317′ N, 116° 20.271′ W. Marker is in Indian Wells, California, in Riverside County. Marker is on California Route 111 0.1 miles east of El Dorado Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Indian Wells CA 92210, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dwight David Eisenhower (within shouting distance of this marker); Jimmy Swaggart's "Date" (approx. 6.2 miles away); 1909 Indio Schoolhouse (was approx. 6.6 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Smiley Place (approx. 6.6 miles away); Dr. June Robertson McCarroll (approx. 6.9 miles away).
 
Categories. Native Americans
 
Indian Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 29, 2015
2. Indian Wells Marker
Small plaque below Indian Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 29, 2015
3. Small plaque below Indian Wells Marker
This historical monument was relocated from its previous location on the north side of highway 111, approximately two miles east of the Date Preserve Park. The Riverside County Historical Commission approved the park as permanent location for the monument on December 23, 1985. The actual relocation occurred in November 1987.
Indian Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 29, 2015
4. Indian Wells Marker
Sign near marker about the history of Indian Wells image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 29, 2015
5. Sign near marker about the history of Indian Wells
The Indian Well

Floods and shifting sand dunes long ago obliterated the Indian well for which Indian Wells in named, and which was once the Cahuilla Indians' most reliable source of water. Probably located north of what is now Highway 111, between Miles Avenue and Point Happy, it looked more like a deep mining excavation than a traditional water well, and must have been dug over many, many years.
By 1853, when it was first seen and described by explorer William Blake, the "well" was a funnel-shaped pit with rock-hard clay walls and clay steps descending at least 25 feet into the earth. Blake guessed it had begun as a small seep--a spot where water oozed to the surface of the ground--which the Cahuilla gradually deepened by removing a little clay whenever the water level dropped too low. The staircase evolved as the depth of the pit increased, and, like the pit, was made entirely by hand.
The well was slow--the supply ran out before Blake had finished watering his mules--but steady and abundant. He collected 20 bucketsful in the course of the night. The well continued to supply pioneers and Indians with water for a good many years.
White settlement of the Coachella Valley eventually pushed the Cahuilla into the surrounding mountains and canyons. The Indian well was abandoned. By 1916, this "pozo hondo," or deep well, thought to be the oldest seep in the desert, had vanished under sand and debris.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 4, 2015, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 361 times since then and 51 times this year. Last updated on April 17, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 4, 2015, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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