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. At the time, California and federal land surveyors declared the sand dunes uninhabitable, only the hard rock ground of the "Marshall Cove" held potential farming and residential development.
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 (became Interstate 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 Riverside County in 1982. In the 1980 census, La Quinta had 4,200 residents, then increased to 11,215 by 1990 in the city's early phases of residential area growth. It was predominantly a part-time community until around that time.
Coral Mountain is a proposed $200-million complex on 400 acres (160 ha) that would include a hotel and housing built around a surfing basin created by Kelly Slater Wave Co.
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