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

Richard Linklater Earns Film Fest's Sonny Bono Visionary Award

Two-time Academy Award nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater will receive the Sonny Bono Visionary Award at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 3.

A Bigger, Better Modernism Week

Today, the city of Palm Springs touts Modernism Week as one of its signature events, stretching over 11 days in February and drawing tens of thousands of architecture and design buffs from around the globe.

A Modern Minimalist

Architect Albert Frey combined geographically sensitive materials and abstained from the insignificant to create a sophisticated, international interpretation of Desert Modern style.

Oasis in the Desert

Featuring more than 9,000 square feet on the 12-acre property, the Spanish-style adobe in Palm Springs built by Palm Springs Air Museum founders Bob and Jo Pond can accommodate up to 100 cars.

Steady as She Goes

The median home price per square foot in the Coachella Valley was unchanged in September at $171, marking five months of essentially unchanging home prices.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

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.
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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags