A Healthy Outcome at El Mirador

The former Palm Springs glamour spot lives on as Desert Regional Medical Center



El Mirador Hotel

Courtesy Palm Springs Historical Society and Palm Springs Life archives

Palm Springs 75th Anniversary logoEl Mirador Hotel opened its doors on New Year’s Eve, 1928, and quickly became a hot spot for Hollywood stars and the corporate elite. Built by Palm Springs pioneer Prescott Thresher Stevens at a cost of $1 million, and designed by Los Angeles architects Walker & Eisen, the hotel’s 20 acres included an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, stables, the desert’s first golf course, and a striking Spanish-Colonial Revival-style bell tower that became a city landmark.

The stock market crash of October 1929 brought the party to a standstill. Stevens, unable to sustain the debt, sold the hotel at auction in 1932 for $300,000. The new owners hired Tony Burke and, later, Frank Bogert, to publicize the property. Innovative and creative, they invited photographers and news cameramen to stay for free, and established Palm Springs as an international playground.

The hotel’s heyday hit another rough patch in the summer of 1942 when the United States entered World War II. The U.S. Army bought and converted the hotel into the 1,600-bed Torney General Hospital for wounded soldiers. After the war, El Mirador saw several different owners until it reopened in 1952. In the interim, the 38-bed Palm Springs Community Hospital — later named Desert Hospital — opened adjacent to the hotel grounds.

Purchasing the entire property in 1972, Desert Hospital transformed the once-glamorous hotel into a modern hospital. In 1989, hours after the hospital’s board of directors voted to reinforce the fragile El Mirador bell tower and reconstruct its one remaining building, a fire destroyed them both. The hospital moved quickly to rebuild the tower from the original plans, and it reopened in 1991.

El Mirador tower lives on as a Palm Springs landmark at the heart of the Desert Regional Medical Center campus. The 387-bed acute-care hospital has the Coachella Valley’s only designated trauma center, the Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences, Joslin Diabetes Center, El Mirador Imaging Center, Advanced Primary Stroke Center, advanced congestive heart failure program, a comprehensive cancer center, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Watch Our Top 10 Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Videos

Where should I eat in the Greater Palm Springs area? Watch our Top 10 Restaurant Videos to help you find the answer to that question.

Explore Palm Springs: Summer Baseball 1948

Summer baseball was an important pastime for villagers in early Palm Springs, who were too busy during the winter season to have time for recreation.

Explore Palm Springs: Shadow Mountain Club

The Shadow Mountain Club became a sought after address where members could enjoy the desert lifestyle in a country club setting.

Explore Palm Springs: Real Estate Boom of 1880s

The Colorado Desert settlements of Palm Springs, Palmdale and the Garden of Eden were part of a real estate boom that reverberated across the state between 1880 and 1889.

Explore Palm Springs: Summer in the City

Though they may not be apparent to an outsider, there are many alluring things about Palm Springs from June through August.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 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.
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.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.