|DISCOVER BEAUTIFUL PALM SPRINGS|
Breathtaking mountain views and captivating desert scenery surround this oasis in the desert. As warm
breezes rustle through palm trees, every day postcard blue skies will captivate you. All of your senses will
be enticed by the unique natural setting that is Palm Springs.
Founding Studies of campsites in the Morongo basin indicate an ancient people inhabited the area now
known as Palm Springs, California-stretching back across time over 10,000 years. That was in the Stone
Age, during which time the inhabitants used bows and arrows, made baskets, fashioned pottery and wove
fabrics from native yucca fiber. This establishes Palm Springs as one of the oldest villages on the western
Until the middle of the 19th century, Palm Springs was solely a paradise for Cahuilla Indians of the Agua
Caliente tribe. One of many Cahuilla bands, the Agua Caliente existed as peaceful hunters and gatherers,
living off the land, and adapting to the extremes of desert summers and mountain winters. Much of tribal
life centered on the lush vegetation and abundant water in the area known as Indian Canyons, site of North
America's largest natural fan palm oasis. This tribe obtained this name from the Spanish word for “hot
In 1853, a government survey party, headed by Lt. R.S. William P. Blake, a geologist, made the first
modern discovery of Palm Springs. They discovered its naturally occurring mineral pool bubbling out of
the hot desert sand- a true oasis. This original spring later becomes the site of the famous Spa Resort.
Traveling on horses and wagons through the desert, these men are credited with establishing the first
wagon route through the San Gorgonio Pass. In 1872, Palm Springs became a stop on the Bradshaw Stage
Coach Line between Prescott, Arizona and Los Angeles.
The proximate to Los Angeles, and especially Hollywood, make Palm Springs grow from a sleepy desert
town into a glamorous resort.
During the golden age of Hollywood, stars under studio contract were
discouraged to travel more than a day’s drive away from their movie production stages. By the time it was
incorporated in 1938, the Village of Palm Springs had become an insider secret as a winter playground for
Hollywood stars like Kirk Douglas, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Clark
Gable and William Holden. Members of the Rat Pack – Frank Sinatra included- also made Palm Springs
their private hangout- poolside or barside.
The peace and prosperity following World War II, found Palm Springs returning to its previous celebrity
status, and the growth of this desert area has exploded since 1945. One nine-hole golf course was the boast
of the village in 1945. Now more than 85 golf courses, 600 tennis courts, and 10,000 swimming pools dot
the desert landscape in the greater Palm Springs resort area.
Due to natural open spaces and dramatic landscape, Palm Springs became a center for architects from
around the world as place for experimental design during the mid-twentieth century. Some of the most
famous used Palm Springs as their pallet for a new language of space and materials.Palm Springs is noted
for its architecture from a tradition that grew out of the aesthetics of the German Bauhaus and is reflected in
the work of Albert Frey (who designed the Palm Springs city hall, aerial-tram (cable car) station and the
Movie Colony Hotel), Donald Wexler, Richard Neutra, E. Stewart Williams, and others.
A development company,The Alexander Construction Company, popularized this post-and-beam
architectural style in the Coachella Valley. Alexander houses and similar homes feature low-pitched roofs,
wide eaves, open-beamed ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. These houses, collectively known as
"Alexanders," have come to be appreciated for their rational designs, modernist style, and innovative
construction and are now highly sought after, selling for a premium over their more conventional
contemporaries. The majority of Alexander homes were designed by architects Dan Palmer and William
Krisel, of Palmer & Krisel. Restoration projects are now being undertaken to return these homes and
businesses to their original condition.
The neighborhood, known today as Las Palmas, became the neighborhood of choice for the "New
Hollywood" crowd seeking weekend desert escapes. Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Joan Collins, Marilyn
Monroe, and Harold Robbins each owned an "Alexander". Frank Sinatra's home by E. Stewart Williams is
nearby. Nancy Sinatra still lives in the neighborhood. The most well-known Alexander house in Las
Palmas is the Lawford/Kennedy house, originally built for Peter Lawford, connected by marriage to the
Kennedy family and a charter member of the Rat Pack. During a visit to Palm Springs, President Kennedy
was to have stayed at Sinatra's house, but ended up at Lawford's instead. The proximity of Lawford's house
to Marilyn Monroe's, supposedly gave rise to a rendezvous between JFK and Monroe.
Another well-known Alexander is the "Honeymoon Hideaway" at 1350 Ladera Circle, built by Robert
Alexander for his wife in the early 1960s. The house and the Alexanders achieved some level of national
celebrity when an eight-page article featuring the house and the family appeared in Look Magazine in
September 1962. The article portrayed the Alexanders and their estate as the center of social activities in
Palm Springs in the early 1960s.
Restoration projects are now being undertaken to return these homes and businesses to their
Architecture tours are available in Palm Springs and celebrity homes are often featured.