Explore Palm Springs: Albert Einstein Finds Refuge

Brilliant scientist and his wife liked hiking Palm Canyon



(From left) Albert and Elsa Einstein at the El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs.

Photo Courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society

 

On March 1, 1933, the Nobel Prize winning scientist, Albert Einstein, and his wife, Elsa, came to Palm Springs.

The couple was fleeing from Nazi Germany where the influence of Adolph Hitler was making it more and more dangerous to practice Judaism. They stayed at the Willows, an elegant home owned by Samuel Untermeyer.

Tony Burke, the local publicist and photographer for the El Mirador Hotel, was asked to give the Einsteins a tour of Palm Springs and the surrounding area. Burke said Albert Einstein detested photographers and he would run when he saw them coming.

When cornered, according to Burke, he would grimace and make clicking sounds in mockery. The world’s newspapers and magazines learned a lot about Palm Springs while they were trying to snap pictures of him.

Albert Einstein told Burke his favorite part of the tour was their trip to Palm Canyon where he was able to wander over the desert and up in the canyon, and appreciate the vastness of the mountains and the sky.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

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