News

Modernism Week 2019 - February 14 - 24, 2019

Modernism Week

Get ready to celebrate the appreciation of midcentury architecture and design in Palm Springs. 


Modernism Week fosters contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in our city.

Modernism Week February 14-24, 2019 - 11 Days of Modernism!

The Palm Springs Historical Society is proud to partner and offer the following special Modernism tours in February. Go to the modernismweek.com to get tickets for these tours.

Tour 1

Welwood Murray Memorial LibraryLa Plaza TheatreOasis Hotel photo by Stephen H. Willard

Heart of the City
Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 11:30 am (2 hrs)
How did a tiny agricultural settlement become a world renowned getaway for the rich and famous? Visit the two oldest structures in Palm Springs, the McCallum Adobe (1884) and the Cornelia White House (1893).

Stroll through La Plaza, the first multiuse shopping center in the nation when it debuted in 1936. See the Oasis Hotel tower designed in 1924 by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, the precursor to the midcentury movement to follow.

Learn about the amazing forward thinking women who built this town. 

 

Tour 2

Kirk Douglas HouseGoldie Hawn and Kurt Russell HouseH. Earl Hoover II House

Golden Era of Hollywood Homes in Old Las Palmas

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
Old Las Palmas began its development in the late 1920s and has one of the highest concentrations of celebrity homes anywhere. Throughout the decades stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Judy Garland, and Leonardo DiCaprio, plus many others have made their homes here.

Spanish Colonial architecture abounds alongside classic examples of dramatic Mid-Century architecture. Our docents will tell some of the surprising tales of the stars who lived and martini-ed here.

 

Tour 3

Del Marcos HotelOrchard Tree InnIngleside Inn photo by Mike Roberts

Inns, Architecture and Glamour
Thu Feb 14
Thu Feb 21

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
Join us for a VIP experience strolling among the charming and beautiful boutique inns that still provide the “Rich and Famous” with seclusion and relaxation.

From legendary stars like Joan Crawford and Clark Gable to today’s hottest stars Miley Cyrus and Queen Latifah, all have partied and vacationed here. Along the way you will see a variety of architectural styles and hear fascinating tales.

 

Tour 4

Town and Desert ApartmentsPalm Springs Tennis ClubKorakia-Gordon Coutts House

Celebrity Haven the Tennis Club Neighborhood

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
Nestled into the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains visit the famed Palm Springs Tennis Club neighborhood.

This area has an eclectic mix of boutique hotels and private sanctuaries that became hideaways for the stars like Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Doris Day and Gloria Swanson. Today enjoyed by Hollywood hipsters like Robert Downey Jr. and Reese Witherspoon.

Many were designed and built after WWII when America’s appetite for modern design was the rage. It was the Atomic Age and Palm Springs captured the futuristic mood like no other place on earth.

 

Tour 5

House of TomorrowKaufmann HouseSwiss Miss

Rat Pack Playground Modernist Homes in Vista Las Palmas

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 11:30 am (2 hours)
Discover the trendy midcentury neighborhood Vista Las Palmas, developed by George and Robert Alexander. Experience the architectural genius of Palmer and Krisel in a collection of stunning homes that were mass produced  but appear to be custom designed.

Known as the Beverly Hills of Palm Springs celebrities like Debbie Reynolds, Elvis Presley, Kim Novak, Dean Martin and the Rat Packers lived and frolicked here during the 50’s and 60’s.

See the Kaufmann house, designed by Richard Neutra, a quintessential example of the best of Mid-Century Modern architecture.

 

Tour 6

Markovitz and Jobe HouseBronstein HouseWilliam Holden House

Stars and Starchitects in Deepwell

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
Stroll through this pristine midcentury neighborhood with its collection of elegant Modernist homes, some designed by the desert’s most prolific architects, including E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, and Hugh Kaptur.

Some of Hollywood’s biggest names lived in these well manicured properties boasting some of the most attractive desert landscaping in Palm Springs.

Loretta Young, William Holden, Carmen Miranda, Jerry Lewis and Liberace are just a few of the stars that called Deepwell home.

 

Tour 7

Frank Sinatra HouseRic-Su-Dar Darryl Zanuck EstatePalm Springs midcentury House

Frank Sinatra's Neighborhood the Movie Colony

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
The Movie Colony neighborhood began in the 1930s with the beautiful El Mirador tower as its centerpiece. After WWII Frank Sinatra made it “his” neighborhood when his home, known as “Twin Palms,” became party central. Neighbors Jack Benny, Tony Curtis, and Cary Grant also enjoyed this charming and prestigious area.

This tour affords a visual feast  blending classic Spanish Colonial Revival architecture with the sleek Mid-Century Modern designs created by the renowned E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler and William Cody, among other Modernist architects.

 

Tour 8

Ship of the DesertKing Gillette EstateEstate in the Mesa

Hidden Paradise Show Biz Legends in the Mesa

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
The Mesa is a beautiful secluded hillside neighborhood with eclectic architecture ranging from romantic Spanish Colonial Revival, Mid-Century Modern marvels and dramatic contemporary styles.

It has long been home to Hollywood’s elite Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, Sonny and Cher, and music legend Johnny Mercer just to name a few. Today Barry Manilow and Suzanne Somers enjoy this slice of paradise.

 

Tour 9

Howard ManorVilla Theresa - Liberace HouseMerito Manor

Boom Town the Story of Uptown Palm Springs

Thu Feb 14
Fri Feb 15
Sat Feb 16
Sun Feb 17
Mon Feb 18
Tue Feb 19
Wed Feb 20
Thu Feb 21
Fri Feb 22

9:30 am to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours)
As you walk through the “Uptown Design District” with its unique collection of boutiques and galleries. Follow the footsteps of desert dreamers from 1925 to the present era.

Explore the architecture from California Mission to Mid-Century Modern that is such an important part of the cities unique character.

Discover the cities earliest resort hotels which to this day reflect the relaxing and glamorous atmosphere Palm Springs is known for around the world.

 

Tour 10

Coachella Valley Savings & LoanCity National BankAlan Ladd Hardware

Icons of Finance and Fashion
Fri Feb 15
Sun Feb 17
Tue Feb 19

9:30 am to 11:30 am (2 hours)
Get to know the movers and shakers who shaped the city’s growth and development during the economic boom of the midcentury. 

See how modern design was applied to commercial buildings in the heart of the financial and fashion district in Palm Springs.

Learn how visionary local architects E. Stewart Williams, Larry Lapham, and Donald Wexler as well as large nationally recognized architectural firms Victor Gruen & Associates and Pereira & Luckman were able to incorporate the Modern International Movement adapting their structures to often-harsh desert climate while embracing the incredible views of the surrounding mountains. 


- Become a Volunteer

Get Involved - Become a Volunteer

Volunteers play an important role in the operations of the Palm Springs Historical Society. Consider getting involved as a way of learning more about Palm Springs past and connecting with like-minded people as you contribute to your community.

Volunteers' time and talent are vital to continuing our mission. We couldn't do it without you. Volunteers work in a variety of departments including Education, Public Programs, Museum Docents, Library Assistant, Library Collections, Oral History, Research Library and Walking Tour Docents to name a few.

We seek a diverse group of volunteers who can apply their skills, interests, experiences and energy. 

Current Volunteer Openings:

Walking Tour Docents
Museum Docents

To inquire about volunteering CONTACT US by email to receive a Volunteer Application or download the Volunteer Application (pdf 235 KB) or Walking Tour Volunteer Application (pdf 164 KB) save it and print it out to email or drop off for review. We will contact you for an interview if an appropriate position becomes available. Thank you for your interest!


- Welwood Murray Memorial Library

Monday, February 23, 2015

The 1941 Welwood Murray Memorial Library (WMML) re-opens after a full renovation.

Palm Springs Historical Society Research Library

VIEW the Online Research Library
The PSHS Research Library offers numerous materials from the Museum's collection. Browse our extensive online database, explore photos, books, periodicals, manuscripts, and much more.

Check out the Online Collections Database

VISIT the Research Library
Tel: 760-323-8297 
Now housing the Palm Springs Historical Society's Research Library. Please call to make an appointment. Arrangements must be made prior with the Historical Society to access historic archives on site at the library.

PSHS Policies and Services

Downtown Public Library and Visitors Center

Tel: 760-323-8296
The WMML provides library services as a branch of the main Palm Springs Library, free WiFi, public computers and a browsing collection of national magazines and newspapers. It will also function as a downtown visitors center from 9 am to 9 pm everyday.

WMML Policies and Services

100 South Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA 92262


- Forever Marilyn

Monday, April 1, 2014

The 26 foot tall, 34,000 pound sculpture was disassembled. Tuesday morning the crane loaded the four pieces plus base onto two flat bed trucks headed to Hamilton, New Jersey.

The Seward Johnson statue will take a 7 day trip across country making at least 10 city stops along the way for "I Saw Marilyn!" photo ops. She heads to the Grounds for Sculpture, in Hamilton, N.J. for a May 4 - July 2015 retrospective on the life and work of Johnson, who will be 84 this year.

Seward Johnson: The Retrospective

Forever Marilyn lifted in sky Forever Marilyn skirt Forever Marilyn legsForever Marilyn disasembledForever Marilyn on the truck

 


- Fire burns historic 1935 Palm Springs Community Church

An early morning fire Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 4:30am all but gutted one of the city's oldest structures, the Palm Springs Community Church on the corner of Baristo and South Cahuilla.

Built in 1935 and designed in Gothic Revival style that was common in the 1920's and 30's, this architecture is the only surviving example of this kind in Palm Springs.

Fun Fact: President Eisenhower and Mamie worshiped here in 1954.