Joseph L. Chiriaco came to California from Alabama in 1925. His work as a surveyor for the Los Angeles Bureau of Water and Power and later for the Metropolitan Water District on the Colorado River aqueduct, begun in 1931, brought him to the desert area known as Shaver Summit. He established a gas station and general store here in 1933, the same year that the paved highway, U.S. 60, replaced the gravel road from Indio to Phoenix. In 1934 he married Ruth E. Bergseid, a registered nurse, and they raised their family at Chiriaco Summit. In 1942 General George S. Patton established the Desert Training Center, headquartered at nearby Camp Young. In 1945 the Chiriaco family built a memorial to Patton and his men which has since grown into a full-scale museum. In 1958 the U.S. Post Office was established here and the name of the area changed to Chiriaco Summit. Joe and Ruth Chiriaco, true pioneer spirits, passed away within months of each other in the spring of 1996. Their life work, serving the traveling public, continues today through their children.