Explore Palm Springs: Birth of Modernism

Pearl McCallum McManus puts Palm Springs on the architectural map

Renee Brown History 0 Comments


Pearl McCallum McManus is known as the person responsible for bringing modernism to the Palm Springs area as early as 1923 when she hired Lloyd Wright to design an art deco tower for her new Oasis Hotel.

Again in 1947, she broke with local tradition when she commissioned Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones to transform the Palm Springs Tennis Club.

The Williams’ and Jones’ 1940s version of California Modernism incorporated in the Tennis Club was a more sophisticated version than what had previously been designed in Palm Springs.

The original plan for the makeover was expected to cost $60,000, but at the end of the project construction costs were more than $250,000. The kitchen was expanded and renovated as were the swimming and tennis areas. A new main dining room, the Bougainvillea Room, snack bar, cocktail lounge with a terrace for outdoor dining were added to the existing complex.

By incorporating the old structure with the new as well as successfully combining interior function with exterior environment, the Palm Springs Tennis Club became an example of the best in contemporary architectural concepts.

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 Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.


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