Palm Springs Historical Buildings and Homes

Self-Guided Tour

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

Palm Springs has become famous for unique and aesthetically pleasing architecture. This particular treasure is one reason that draws people to the area and also why much of the nation`s media cover our desert area with such enthusiasm. Our buildings represent works by important architects during the most creative periods of their careers.

A self-guided tour of many of the historical sites in Palm Springs including Palm Springs Homes follows, with each site referenced to a number-keyed map. For a copy of the Self Guided Tour Map, please contact Maurice by e-mail (re: Contact Me Tab) or by phone: 760-250-7791.

1. Tramway Gas Station - 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive

Constructed in 1963 by Frey and Chambers as the `Enco` Tramway Gas  Station, this structures` roof soars to a dramatic point, marking the official entry to the City. It is currently the location of the Palm Springs Visitors Center.

2. Tramway Valley Station - 1 Tramway Road

Completed in 1963 after a 14 year design period by architects John Porter Clark, Albert Frey and Robson Chambers, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Station was designed to embrace its surroundings and has truly set the tone for architectural practice in the desert.

3. El Mirador Hotel Tower - 1150 North Indian Canyon Drive

Original built by cattle rancher Prescott T. Stevens in 1928, this tower was the centerpiece of the famed El Mirador Hotel. The original tower was destroyed by fire in 1989, but thanks to the availability of the original plans, the tower was reconstructed by 1991.

4. El Mirador Garage - 1090 North Palm Canyon Drive

Necessitated by the popularity of the El Mirador Hotel and its elite car-savvy clientele, the garage was built in 1929, one year after the hotel`s opening. 

 5. El Paseo Building - 800 North Palm Canyon Drive

A two story Spanish Eclectic compound featuring an interior courtyard, this 1926-1927 building exemplifies much of Palm Springs` early architecture. While the façade facing Palm Canyon Drive has been significantly altered, much of the original building remains. 

6. Pacific Building - 766-768 North Palm Canyon Drive

This Mission Revival Style building was built in 1936 by Charles Chamberlin. The upstairs level remains as apartments while the courtyard and street-facing space have housed numerous offices and retail oriented businesses over the years. The adjacent Casa Palmeras apartments to  the east remain virtually unchanged.

7. Frances Stevens School and Park - 538 North Palm Canyon Drive

Built by Frances Stevens, wife of Prescott Stevens (see El Mirador Hotel Tower), this structure began its life as their home. In 1927, the first classrooms were constructed and it remained an educational facility until the City of Palm Springs purchased the site in 1974 when it was dedicated by President Gerald Ford as a cultural arts center.

8. Street Marker - Northwest Corner of Chino Drive & Palm Canyon Drive

In 1930 Main Street became Palm Canyon Boulevard, and following the cities incorporation in 1938, stone street markers were created. Built of native stone and cement, this is the last remaining marker of its kind in the city. 

9. Welwood Murray Cemetery - Chino Drive (west end)

As the first cemetery for non-Indian settlers in Palm Springs, this is the final resting place for many Palm Springs pioneers and visionaries. Deeded to the Palm Springs cemetery district by Welwood Murray`s heirs, it is named in his honor. Erksine Murray, son of Elizabeth and George Murray, was the first buried here in 1894. 

10. Our Lady of Solitude Church - 151 West Alejo Road

Planning for this church began in 1926 under Father Phillip LaVies from Saint Boniface School in nearby Banning. The Spanish Mission Revival Structure was completed in 1930 by local builder Alvah Hicks. The Rectory to the east was added in 1964 and a Parish Center to the South was built in 1974.

11. Drs. Smith & Peppers Office - 483 North Palm Canyon Drive

Built in the 1920s, this small Spanish Eclectic home was the northernmost residence in the city. As Palm Springs prospered, a higher demand for community services along "Main Street" prompted original owner Dr. John F. Smith to convert the home into his medical offices in the early 1930s.

12. American Legion, Owen Coffman Post #519 - 400 North Belardo Road

Built by R.S. Pinkard in 1948 with donated materials and labor, this project was originally known as the War Memorial Building. Under first commander Earl Coffman, a WWI Veteran, The American Legion Post held early meetings in the Fiesta Room at the Desert Inn. Upon learning that his son, Lieutenant Owen B. Coffman, was the first Palm Springs native killed in WWII, a resolution was drafted to rename the post in Owen`s honor.

View Tour 2 >

Maurice Minno - Realtor