The first record of a European in Borrego Valley was when
Lieutenant Pedro Fages of the
San Diego Presidio
came in search of deserters in 1772. His pursuit led him northwest
through the present town of Borrego Springs and up
This event was related by
to members of the first Anza expedition, who camped at their village
in March, 1774. The Spaniards called this village (and spring) just
east of the Borrego Sink, San Gregorio. It is the location of the
original Borrego Spring.
Juan Bautista De Anza
was seeking an overland route from Sonora Mexico to Monterrey
California. Proceeding west from San Gregorio, he and his party of
25 followed Coyote Creek and ascended
Coyote Canyon. They camped the following night at the
Cahuilla village of Lower Willows, now known as Santa Caterina.
It was another hundred years before cattlemen began homesteading the
Borrego Valley in about 1875. The first successful well was dug in
1926, which quickly led to irrigation farming. By then, the town
included a post office, a small general store, and a gas station.
The military presence of both the Army and Navy during World War II
brought the first paved roads and electricity to Borrego Springs.
After the war, developers subdivided the area attempting to create a
resort community by capitalizing on the tourism generated by the
Borrego Springs was a hideaway for the Hollywood
Stars back in the 1950's and the
was their hangout.
Borrego Springs is an unincorporated community in the county of San
For more information on the history of Borrego
Springs, see the excellent book by Phil Brigandi Borrego Beginnings
- Early Days in the Borrego Valley 1910-1960, published by the
Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association:
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