JFK's time in the Valley

PALM DESERT, Calif. - President John F. Kennedy spent some time in the desert.  Not only did he stay at Bing Crosby's house, but he also attended church in Palm Desert several times. 

"Palm Springs has always been graced with a unique and interesting history unlike any other town it's size," said Palm Springs Historical Society Director Jeri Vogelsang.

In 1962, President Kennedy made an official 3-day visit to the desert.

"There were about 10,000 people at Palm Springs Airport waiting to see him land in Air Force One," said Vogelsang.

JFK met with Former President Eisenhower at his home in the Eldorado Country Club, but he stayed at Bing Crosby's house in Palm Desert. It was the same home where Marilyn Monroe is rumored to have rendezvoused with Kennedy. 

"I haven't heard anything about her being stashed somewhere, but that doesn't mean anything," said Vogelsang. "I know that she had a home in the Vista Las Palmas area." 

Kennedy was the first and only President who was Catholic.  When he was in the desert, he worshiped at Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert.

"At the time this was a very small church and the Secret Service would come of course prior to his arrival and they would rope off the pews and he would come and attend Mass, and he was here on a number of occasions and including I believe, two Sundays before he went to Dallas," said Father Howard Lincoln. 

The pews where he sat, are now marked with plaques.  They were moved closer to the altar when the church expanded, but they are still the originals. 

"Sometimes I do sit in the pew, his pew and think what it was like," said Father Lincoln.  "I think history is an extremely important part of life that you do learn about how to live by looking back at what happened historically and there are some of us, quite a few of us really that are still around remember where we were and what we were doing."


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