Lasting Impression - J. Smeaton Chase

In 1920 J. Smeaton Chase likened the Coachella Valley’s appeal to that of Arabia in his day.



J. Smeaton Chase's photograph A Canyon Portal of Our Araby appears in Photographing the American West: Selections from the Permanent Collection at Palm Springs Art Museum through Feb. 27, 2011.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The  Late Amerian Essayist Charles Dudley Warner applied to Southern California the term “Our Italy.” J. Smeaton Chase — in his 1920 book Our Araby: Palm Springs and the Garden of the Sun — likened the Coachella Valley’s appeal to that of Arabia in his day. Chase wrote the small volume to invite discerning travelers to the area.

Chase, whose photographs illustrate the book, wrote, “Turning to the south the view takes in a sort of bay or backwater — barring the water
— of mountain-enclosed desert [that] may be considered as Palm Springs’ private back yard. Into it open the four [canyons], which are Palm Springs’ pride, viz: Tahquitz, Andreas, Murray, and Palm, the last three being the scenic cream of Our Araby, and notable especially for their remarkable display of the native California palm.

“The scientists, writers, painters, musicians — in fact, all kinds of people who love quiet, thoughtful things and whose work or enjoyment lies in natural instead of artificial fields — come and share with us the wholesome pleasures and interests that are inherent in a clean, new, unspoiled bit of this wonderful old world.”

Edit Module
Art + Culture
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Telling Lives

This year, the American Documentary Film Festival's prevalent themes include marriage, parent-child relationships, environment and conservation, mentorship, and equality.

Hot Tickets

Here is our list of must-see films at the American Documentary Film Festival, March 26-30, in Greater Palm Springs area.

A Feast for the Creative Soul

Soprano Renée Fleming joins Paris Opera conductor Philippe Jordan and others to launch a star-studded Festival of the Desert.

In Support of Actors

He often calls himself “the luckiest actor in the world,” but there have been times when Brian Stokes Mitchell has relied upon the assistance of the Actors Fund.

AC/DC, Jack White, Rapper Drake Headline Coachella 2015

Metal rockers AC/DC, alt rock king Jack White, and smooth rapper Drake headline the released lineup for the 2015 Coachella Arts and Music Festival set over two consecutive April weekends in Indio.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2015 Grand Experience
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags