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Palm Springs Homes and Buildings Tour

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs Classics

Courtesy of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation
Maurice Minno - Palm Springs Homes Realtor
Tour Two

13. General Telephone Building - 365 North Palm Canyon Drive

Built in 1934 by the California Water and Telephone Company as an office and switching center, this Spanish Eclectic building was later owned and operated by GTE from 1967-1984. 

14. The Cork `n Bottle - 342 North Palm Canyon Drive

Somewhat shrouded in mystery, this last remaining example of commercial Art Decco architecture in downtown Palm Springs is listed as this address as early as 1937 in local phone books, but was most likely built earlier. While the architect and builder are unknown, records indicated the building was first owned by local civic leader Clarence Simpson, who ran it as Simpson`s Radio and Frigidaire until his death in 1944.

15. Palm Springs Fire Station #1 - 277 North Palm Canyon Drive

Also a Frey and Chambers structure built in 1955, this structure is similar to Palm Springs City Hall and features many of Frey`s trademark elements such as the colored concrete block and corrugated aluminum. Threatened with demolition in the 1990s, the Palm Springs Modern Committee was formed and saved the building.

16. Lykken`s Department Store - 180 North Palm Canyon Drive

Pioneer Carl Lykken and business partner J.H. Bartlett built the first Palm Springs department store in 1914. Lykken later added a hardware store on the north side. A place of many firsts, Lykken`s also had the town`s first public phone and a branch of the United States Post Office.

17. Palm Springs Art Museum - 101 Museum Drive

Built in 1976 by architect E. Stewart Williams, this structure has a superb blend of natural and organic building. A 35 foot building height limit at the time did not limit Williams` creativity; he simply placed the outdoor sculpture gardens and theater below grade. Having the clever foresight that building codes and height restrictions would evolve, he came out of retirement in 1996 at age 86 to design the seamless addition.

18. O`Donnell House - Private Road (Located above the Palm Springs Art Museum)

The highest of the Palm Springs Homes in the valley when constructed in 1925, this "Ojo del Desierto" (Eye of the Desert) was built for Thomas O`Donnell by Palms Springs pioneer Nellie Coffman and designed by architect Charles Tanner. After sitting vacant for many years, this Palm Springs House was carefully restored by The Willows in 2000.

19. The Willows - 412 West Tahquitz Canyon Way

The winter Palm Springs Home of New Yorker Samuel Untermeyer, this home was built between 1924-1929 by architects Dow and Richards. Long neglected, this home was rescued by savvy entrepreneurs who undertook a thorough restoration before opening this once private estate as a luxury bed and breakfast hotel in 1996. 

20. Roberson House - 385 West Tahquitz Canyon Way

Designed by Charles Tanner, architect of The Desert Inn and the O`Donnell House, this Palm Springs Home was built in 1924 by George Roberson, son of Nellie Coffman. Originally surrounded by a native stone wall, the Spanish Revival structure was one of three homes that made up a compound of early Palm Springs Families: the Coffmans, Robersons and Valeurs.

21. Welwood Murray Library - 100 South Palm Canyon Drive

Completed the last week of 1940, the Welwood Murray Memorial Library was designed by Palm Springs architect John Porter Clark and built by Charles G. Chamberlain. Made possible by a bequest to the city by Murray`s son, Dr. George Murray and by generous donations from philanthropist Thomas O` Donnell, the terms of Murray`s 1938 gift deed to the city state that the property must always contain a library.

22. Oasis Hotel Tower -121 South Palm Canyon Drive

Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed this early Art Deco/Moderne hotel for clients Pearl and Austin McManus from 1923-1925. Built around early Palm Springs settler John McCallum`s original adobe house, the hotel utilized an innovative slip-form method of construction.

23. Plaza Theater - 128 South Palm Canyon Drive

As the most remarkable building of the million-dollar Plaza project, the Plaza Theater embodies the finest features of modern Spanish Revival architecture and construction. Among the most notable achievements was the first ever installation of Wester Electric`s Mirrorphonic Sound, then the most innovative and perfected system of its kind.

24. La Plaza - 160 South Palm Canyon Drive

Designed in 1935 by Harry J. Williams as one of the first mixed-use commercial centers in California, The Plaza was indeed the first outdoor-oriented shopping center in the country.

Original tenants included the local post office, an upstairs night club and the trendy Desmond`s apparel shop.

25. Miss Cornelia`s "Little House" - 221 South Palm Canyon Drive

Built partially out of railroad ties from the defunct Palmdale Railway, this building was originally erected in 1893 by Welwood Murray on the site of his Palm Springs Hotel before the property was sold in 1914 to the White sisters, Miss Cornelia and Dr. Florilla. The home was moved across the street to what is now the southeast corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon Drive when Cornelia deeded it and the land for the first Palm Springs Desert Museum. The house was moved again in 1979 after the Museum sold that site.

26. McCallum Adobe  - 221 South Palm Canyon Drive

Oldest existing Palm Springs building.

Maurice Minno - Realtor