Desert Tortoise

Cabot Yerxa was a naturalist and he wrote his observations about various animals, plants, and the desert. Below are excerpts from his column, On the Desert Since 1913, in The Desert Sentinel. One of the most interesting creatures to be found in the desert is the tortoise, which is classed as a reptile because it crawls. In the ocean, similar creatures, …

Miracle Hill

In one of his “On the Desert Since 1913” columns for Desert Sentinel newspaper, Cabot Yerxa writes about how he searched and claim his homestead land. He also shares how he learned about the wells in the area. For a few days, Bob and I tramped over the desert, searching out corners, examining land, and exploring canyons, sleeping where night …

Sleeping with a Happy Heart

Today, March 5, marks 57 years from Cabot Yerxa’s death at the age of 81 from a heart attack due to arteriosclerotic heart disease. An obituary newspaper article in 1965 reported that more than 400 people attended a funeral service — conducted by Desert Hot Springs’ American Legion post and Masonic Club — at Eighth Street Community Center. Cabot’s cremated …

A Young Cole Eyraud

Cole Eyraud was a man who was civic-minded, participated in his community, and loved history. He served on various boards in the Coachella Valley such as Sunline Transit Agency, Coachella Valley Historical Society, and Riverside County Arts Planning/Advisory Committee among others. The following are excerpts from his letters to his mother, in which we glean a glimpse of a young …

Dreams and Hopes

As we begin a new year, the excerpt below describes Cabot’s dreams and hopes about his desert claim and his discovery of the mineral hot water. One of his wishes was for a healthy city. No person in this world will ever get enough money, or gain enough distinction over his fellows, to equal the thrill and quiet joy of …

Brushes With Greatness

With Cabot Yerxa’s keen interest in art and studying at Académie Julian in Paris, it is not surprising that he befriended many artists in the desert. Among them were Carl Eytel and Agnes Pelton, whose works are in museum collections and prized by private collectors. One artist with whom Cabot became especially close was Burt Procter, whose work is in …

Not So Fast

In one of his “On the Desert Since 1913” columns for Desert Sentinel newspaper, Cabot Yerxa quoted from an editorial column by another Coachella Valley pioneer: Randall Henderson, Palm Desert founder and publisher of Desert Magazine. In 1956, Cabot wrote that the excerpts below had appeared in Henderson’s publication “10 or 12 years ago.” They constituted a tribute to three …

Road Toils

Cabot Yerxa and fellow Desert Hot Springs pioneers envisioned a city capitalizing on the area’s hot mineral water and immediately recognized the need for roadways to encourage commercial investments (and bring jobs to the desert). The following comes from Cabot’s “On the Desert Since 1913” newspaper columns, which have been collected in a book published by Cabot’s Museum Foundation and …

Yours, Mine, and Ours

Myths draw us in with their colorful stories and characters. The ones that tell of lost treasures are even more compelling, because we love to think we could discover them, whether or not we actively pursue such dreams. The legend of the Lost Peg Leg Mine is commemorated by California Registered Historical Landmark No. 750 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. …

Desert Hot Springs’ ‘Classification’

A little more than a half-mile west of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum lies another property bearing the Desert Hot Springs pioneer’s name. Twelve years ago this month, Cabot Yerxa Elementary School opened for K-5 education. As someone who enjoyed imparting lessons, Cabot surely would be pleased not only with having a school named for him, but also with the museum’s commitment …