eadie adams palm springs

LGBTQ+ History: First Lesbian Hotel in Palm Springs

A monthly column devoted to promoting the gay history of the Coachella Valley starts by honoring National Women's Month.

Staff Report Current Digital, History, LGBTQ+

eadie adams palm springs

Eadie Adams, who was the first female singer with Kay Kyser and his orchestra, opened the first lesbian hotel in Palm Springs in 1968.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY LGBTQ+ HISTORY & ARCHIVES OF THE DESERT

It is well documented that women have played a major role in the birth of Palm Springs as a city and tourist destination from Nellie Coffman, who opened the Desert Inn in 1909, to Zadie Bunker, a women who knew how to fix cars and the proprietor of Bunker’s Garage.

To begins its monthly history column on LGBTQ+ history in the Coachella Valley, the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert honors National Women’s Month in March by looking back on the very first lesbian hotel in Palm Springs.

Established in 1969 by Eadie Adams (1907-1983) and her partner, Rosalle (Pat) McGrath (1909-2001), the hotel  was known as The Desert Knight, 435 E. Avenida Olancha, in Palm Springs for 30 years. In the book, Palm Springs Babylon, the Desert Knight attracted many visitors including Gloria Swanson.

Adams was an American singer and film actress. She appeared in several films between 1935 and 1937, and  was the first female singer with Kay Kyser and his orchestra. Prior to March 1936, Adams sang at a night club while studying acting for six months. After that, she gave up singing to focus on her work in films.

Adams first visited Palm Springs in the 1930s, hanging by the pool with show biz people at the two high-end resorts at the time, The Desert Inn or the El Mirador Hotel. She moved out permanently in 1961 and began a real estate career.

Adams eventually opened her own real estate firm in the mid-1960s with a client list that included Willam Holden, Steve McQueen, Marty Martin, and Natalie Wood.

In 1999, the hotel continued to cater to lesbians but changed names to the Queen of Hearts Resort (1999-2010). Today it is no longer a lesbian hotel, but is operated as Little Paradise Hotel

This is the first in a series of monthly submissions on LGBTQ+ history created by the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert.

The organization focuses on documenting and preserving the LGBTQ+ history of the Coachella Valley, and sharing it with LGBTQ+ individuals, organizations, allies, and the public. Still in its infancy, The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert is currently looking for documents and memorabilia from bars, inns, restaurants, publications, LGBT organizations, and individuals from Palm Springs and surrounding areas.

Should you have any LGBTQ+ treasures that you would like to donate, questions about the organization, or are interested in donating or volunteering and becoming involved in these efforts, please contact the organization by email: [email protected]. You can also follow on Facebook, @lgbtqpshistory.

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