Palm Springs Preservation Foundation


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Quarterly Newsletter 4-2011

1. The Thomas A. O'Donnell House was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places (the first private residence in Palm Springs to be so honored). The O'Donnell House, also known as Ojo Del Desierto (the Eye of the Desert), was built in 1925 as O'Donnell's Palm Springs winter home. The house was designed by artist-architect William Charles Tanner and built by Alvah Hicks (as supervised by Nellie Coffman, owner of the Desert Inn). PSPF congratulates current owners Tracy Conrad and Paul Marut, who have lovingly restored this extraordinary residence to its former glory. For more information about the historic O'Donnell house see

2. Last November the Park Imperial South homeowners association announced the completion of the reconstruction of a decorative concrete block wall at one of its condominium units. The demonstration project was funded by a PSPF grant. To see photos and read more about the project see

3. PSPF is proud to be a beneficiary of a fashion show produced by Déjà Vu principals William Miller and Caroldean Ross at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club on Thursday, February 16th at 7PM. Tickets for the fashion show, which is being billed as "Jetset Style: Midcentury Fashion in Palm Springs," are available at

4. PSPF has four events on the Modernism Week 2012 schedule including PSPF board member Gary Johns’ popular free lecture entitled Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springsand tours of two designated Class 1 historic houses: Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms estate (1947) and the Clark & Frey-designed Stephens House (1949). Rounding out our schedule is our wildly popular Retro Martini Party at the 1960 Val Powelson-designed Maranz House. Finally, please be sure to visit PSPF's Modernism Show booth at the Convention Center. For more information and tickets see

5. Our Desert Spanish Weekend (March 23-25, 2012) tickets are now available! In addition to the release of an educational tribute journal, there will be a fascinating house tour of many of Palm Springs' great 1920s and 30s-era Spanish-influenced properties. For information about tickets and tribute journal underwriting opportunities see http:www/

6. PSPF is happy to report that the city’s latest proposed modifications to the Welwood Murray Memorial Library are generally “sympathetic.” PSPF's next task in this advocacy is to convince the city to retain as much of the library’s interior character (e.g., the original book shelving) as possible. PSPF believes retaining much of the present interior will retain the history and “sense of place” of the 1940 library, be more economical and be consistent with the city’s own goals of sustainability. To read more about our ongoing advocacy efforts for this important “transitional” modern building see

7. First reported on our Facebook page, on Tuesday, January 10th at approximately 3:44AM, a fire swept through one of Rancho Mirage’s most important architectural resources, the Chart House Restaurant (1978) by architect Kendrick Kellogg. The quirky but much admired modernist building has housed a series of restaurants in recent years. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. For more information about the fire see|topnews|text|Frontpage.

8. PSPF board member Susan Secoy-Jensen's Wexler-designed house in Palm Springs' Sunmor neighborhood appears in the December 2011 issue of California Homes magazine. Built in 1955 by Bob Higgins (who also built the L'Horizon Hotel and the Alan Ladd residence), the desert modern house recently underwent an extensive and sensitive rehabilitation by Susan and her husband Dan.

9. Our PSPF Facebook Fan page is a great way to stay abreast of breaking preservation news and get reminders about future PSPF events. See

10. Do you need a copy of the Alexander or Wexler tribute journals as a gift for an architecturally-inclined friend? Remember that the Palm Springs Visitor Center (in the historic Tramway Gas Station) always keeps a nice supply of PSPF tribute journals in stock.

A sincere "Thank You!" to our Contributors:

Preservationists ● Tom & Marianne O'Connell ● Patron Blythe H. Marshall ● AdvocatesJohn & Lisa Gibson ● Contributor ● Mimi Smith ●

And our 2012 year-long Partners:

Jazzercise ● Gary Wexler Design ● Signs By Tomorrow ● Daniel Donnelly Modern Design Studio

1775 East Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 110-195, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (760) 837-7117

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