Desert Spanish: The Early Architecture of Palm Springs

Charles Farrell Residence renovation restores its 1934 roots

During a Palm Springs Preservation Foundation Garden Party Nov. 16, guests gained a look at the renovated Charles Farrell Residence.

Maria Zang


Palm Springs has enjoyed a long, rich history with Spanish architecture with its defining courtyards, cathedral ceilings, and ornamental ironwork.

The Charles Farrell house, which has been beautifully restored to its 1934 roots in the historic Movie Colony neighborhood in Palm Springs, was originally built for Alexander Henry.

At the time, the property consisted of a main house and a guesthouse. Later, in 1952 when the Farrell’s took possession of the property, they commissioned an addition by the architectural firm of Clark & Frey; and a wrought iron arch was built above the entry bearing Farrell’s initials.

Farrell, a silent movie star, went on to become mayor of Palm Springs.

Over the years, the home has changed many hands, and has fallen into disrepair, until it’s current owners began extensive renovations to the property.

Fortunately, the current homeowners had the original Willard photos of the property, (Stephen Willard,1894-1965, one the area’s most important early photographers).

As a result, they had the opportunity to do a first-rate restoration in matching the past with the present look of today. A recent garden party hosted by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation allowed visitors to see the finished product. Palm Springs Rentals is making the property available as a rental, but no further plans are in place to show the home again by tour.

Most people associate Palm Springs with midcentury architecture, but there is an earlier history that goes back to the 1920s and 30s known as the “Glory Era of Palm Springs Architecture.”

Spanish architecture reached its apex in Palm Springs during the 1920s, and by 1925 had become a craze, particularly because of the influx of Hollywood celebrities.

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.


VIDEO: Take a tour of the Charles Farrell Residence, recently restored to its 1934 vintage.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Schurr Joy

The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival deserves the spotlight, especially when it kicks off with a concert by Diane Schuur on Oct. 9.

Vintage Trailers Bring Comfort to Joshua Tree Music Festival-goers

Barnett English's first vintage trailer came at a cost of $50, and now he owns a fleet of more than 20 for rent to enhance the experience at the upcoming Joshua Tree Music Festival.

Fresh, Edgy Verlaine Joins Rancho Mirage Home Offerings

Nestled among Mission Hills Country Club, Sunnylands, and Tamarisk Country Club is exactly where you’ll find Verlaine Rancho Mirage, a new 17-home project.

Get in the Groove with East Bay Soul at Palm Springs Gig

Greg Adams and his East Bay Soul (EBS) will headline the Smooth Jazzfest presented by BMW of Palm Springs Oct. 5 at the Riviera, Palm Springs Grand Ballroom.

Gerald Patrick Paints on His Terms Now

You’ve probably eaten with or on a piece of Gerald Patrick’s artwork. His flatware and china designs for Mikasa and Lenox are what put him on the map.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the four 2015-2016 Broadway Blockbusters Series shows.
Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay 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