Explore Palm Springs: Joseph Magnin Store

Liberace attends high-end store's opening

Renee Brown History


On Jan. 2, 1970, Joseph Magnin’s opened a high-end specialty department store in the Desert Fashion Plaza in the heart of the downtown district.

Liberace attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and along with Miss Palm Springs welcomed the San Francisco based retail giant to the desert.

JM, as it was branded, was located on the south end of the shopping center and was accessible only from inside the mall itself. In 1984, the Joseph Magnin Co. went out of business and the Palm Springs store was replaced with a toy store and a Marie Calendar’s Restaurant.

The golden age of shopping lasted in Palm Springs from the 1940s through the mid-1980s when no major freestanding stores remained and Desert Fashion Plaza, redeveloped by the city and shopping center czar Edward DeBartolo in the early 1980s, failed and went dark.

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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