The Community Church of Palm Springs was designed by architect Charles Tanner in 1935. On February 21, 1954 President and Mrs. Eisenhower worshiped in the church during a week-long visit to Palm Springs. The church was designated a Class 1 historic site by the city of Palm Springs in 1989.
On May 17, 2014 at the city’s first celebration of National Preservation Month, the owner of the Community Church of Palm Springs announced his plans for the rehabilitation of the church and the adjacent Orchid Tree Inn. The next day the Desert Sun newspaper reported that the Community Church of Palm Springs “could rise from the ashes as a new luxury boutique hotel in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood.”
On October 2, 2013, prompted by the Community Church of Palm Springs fire, PSPF President Erik Rosenow wrote a compelling “Valley Voice” which expressed concerns about the city’s non-existent enforcement of the Vacant Building ordinance. To read the Op-Ed piece click here.
On September 18, 2013 the Community Church of Palm Springs was the victim of a severe fire. The church (featured on page 28 of PSPF’s Class 1: A Guide to the Designated Class 1 Historic Sites in Palm Springs booklet) had been vacant for many years. The Community Church fire occurred on the heels of two other suspicious fires in important buildings: the historic Chart House Restaurant building in Rancho Mirage and the Carnell Building on Palm Canyon Drive.
Palm Springs has suffered from a string of suspicious fires over the years that go as far back as the historic El Mirador Tower and Albert Frey’s Premier Apartments. We will keep you informed as developments on the Community Church fire unfold. (Fire photo courtesy Laura Ramstead)