Explore Palm Springs: Cornelia White House

What was the first hotel built in Palm Springs in 1914 became the home of Cornelia White.

Renee Brown Current Digital, History

Workers move the Cornelia White House in 1979 to the city-owned Village Green on Palm Canyon Drive.

One of Palm Springs’ historical treasures is the Cornelia White House, located in the Village Green.  The house was originally constructed in 1893 from railroad ties taken from a defunct narrow gauge railroad that transported homebuyers to an early housing development called Palm Valley Land Company, where Smoke Tree Ranch is today.

When the development failed, Welwood Murray salvaged the wood that was left in the desert and built a bungalow that he used at the Palm Springs Hotel — the first hotel in Palm Springs.  White bought his hotel in 1914 and the bungalow became her home.

In 1944, White donated her house to the city with the stipulation that she could live in the house until her death.  The house was moved across the street to sit next the newly opened Desert Museum.

In an effort to save the bungalow from demolition, Ken Feenstra spearheaded the idea of moving the “Little House” to the city-owned Village Green in 1979. Workmen skillfully loaded the house unto a flatbed trailer and the house was driven to its new location.

The city of Palm Springs is once again saving the bungalow and underwriting its preservation.  A documentary is being filmed to document this important preservation project.

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which marks 80 years in 2018. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

Visit for more information.