coachella valley savings and loan building

Ghosts of Palm Springs Past

Tour these scary-good relics that haunt with their modernist spirit and apparitions of Old Hollywood.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Guide, Home & Design, Real Estate

coachella valley savings and loan building
Coachella Valley Savings & Loan is now a Chase Bank at the corner of Palm Canyon and Ramon Road.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS LIFE ARCHIVES
Alexander Steel Houses

Northwest of the Racquet Club Road Estates tract built in 1959, Donald Wexler constructed seven steel-framed homes in the years following — before rising material costs halted this chic subdivision. East Molino Road and North Sunnyview Drive

The House of Tomorrow

Even if you don’t buy a $35 tour of the groovy Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway (The King and his lady lived here for a year), a suspended bay of windows and a design that joins four circles on three levels offer a glimpse into a vision of the future through a 1906 lens. 1350 Ladera Circle

House of Tomorrow Palm Springs

PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF JORGENSON

The House of Tomorrow

Dinah Shore Estate

Though designed for utmost privacy for the entertainer, this 1964 home (now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio) packs a midcentury punch for the passerby with its brick shell, massive flat roof, and “spider-leg” walkway. 432 Hermosa Place

dinah shore house palm springs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF JORGENSON

Dinah Shore Estate

Melvyn’s at The Ingleside Inn

Midday scotch in a dark bar? Live music after Sunday brunch? The lounge at this 1920s Spanish-style hotel and Old Hollywood hangout embodies timeless cool as an escape for hipsters of all ages, just as it has since Sinatra had a favorite booth. 200 W. Ramon Road

A Bank of Banks

A quarter-mile stretch along the main drag passes out copious architectural eye candy, including four vintage banks that have changed names since the late 1950s and ’60s but maintained their good looks. (Coachella Valley Savings and Loan is now a Chase Bank at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Ramon Road. The one at the corner of West Baristo Road is now the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, designed by E. Stewart Williams.)
300-588 S. Palm Canyon Drive

coachella valley savings and loan building

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS LIFE ARCHIVES

Coachella Valley Savings & Loan, now a Chase Bank at the corner of Palm Canyon and Ramon Road.

Ship of the Desert

Built in 1936, the nautical desert getaway of designer Trina Turk scooped up design and engineering awards soon after. Its progressive Streamline Moderne style resembles an art deco cruise ship.
1995 S. Camino Monte

ship of the desert palm springs

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS LIFE ARCHIVES

The Ship of the Desert

Royal Hawaiian Estates and Caliente Tropics Hotel

Kitschy Polynesian fever is still hot. See the movement’s tropical imprint at a 1960 condominium complex designed by Wexler and Harrison and where the artist Shag currently owns a Tiki pad. Down the street at developer Ken Kimes’ 1964 motor lodge, the Rat Pack used to quench their thirst in what is now The Reef bar. 1774 S. Palm Canyon Drive and 411 E. Palm Canyon Drive

royal hawaiian estates palm springs

PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF JORGENSON

The Royal Hawaiian Estates

Twin Palms Neighborhood

Meander through the first development by the Alexander Construction Company. Uniform in size and consistently well kept, the homes appear custom but vary in roof shape, elevation, and façade.
South Camino Real and East Twin Palms Drive to South La Verne Way

Palm Springs City Hall

Three palm trees pierce the entry’s shade canopy at this functional artifact of civic architecture erected in 1952. The cutout originally accommodated a flagpole.
3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way

Park Imperial South

Call it accordion, folded, or W-style, the zigzagging roofline that tops this cluster of
condos looks like a playful Palm Springs caterpillar. Thank you, Barry Berkus, for this 1960 time capsule.
1750-1844 S. Araby Drive

The Parker Palm Springs

From the site of the first Holiday Inn in California (circa 1959) to recent facelifts by wild designer Jonathan Adler, the Parker remains a resilient landmark of Palm Springs — and is the most Instagrammed spot in town.
4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive

• READ NEXT:  Architect E. Stewart Williams’ Influence on the Desert, Including Coachella Valley Savings and Loan.

Ask the Experts

Scared of running out of time? Don’t miss these drop-dead gorgeous spots.

“A perennial example is the 1968 Palevsky Residence (1021 W. Cielo Drive) by renowned architect Craig Ellwood. Its dramatic setting and simple beauty exude a refinement of midcentury principles, as it embodies many new ideas and possibilities of the era. With Palm Springs’ collection of midcentury modern homes being the greatest concentration anywhere, it’s always difficult to choose one favorite.”

Robert Imber, architectural historian, tour guide, and founding member of Palm Springs Modern Committee

“For quintessential colorful doors, breeze block, and interesting rooflines all in one collective spot, Canyon View Estates is a must-see! This condo community designed by Palmer & Krisel in the 1960s has many features now synonymous with Palm Springs.”

Krys Melo, photographer, interior stylist, and design consultant

“I love to drive people to the top of Cielo Road from Panorama to showcase the city view, as well as the indigenous hillside landscape that attracted so many people to build modern architectural homes like the Edris House by E. Stewart Williams and the Fran Alexander House by Walter White. The Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra is at the bottom of the hill. If you only have one home to admire, it’s top of the list!”

Keith Markovitz, COMPASS Realty