The Ralph Burnham-Gertrude Wells Overly Residence is a rare intact example of the early work of John Porter Clark, one of Palm Springs’ most important and influential architects. Today, renowned as one of the founders of “Desert Modern,” Clark was nonetheless highly skilled with traditional styles as desired or, in the case of Smoke Tree Ranch, required by clients. Completed in 1937, the Burnham-Overly Residence is a classic rendition of Ranch House Revival, a style which would gain great popularity in Palm Springs in the years following World War II. Its design was so well received, the owners of Smoke Tree Ranch used it in advertisements for the development in the late 1930s.
In July of 2022, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board of directors assigned the task of writing the Class 1 Historic Resource nomination for the Ralph Burnham-Gertrude Wells Overly Residence to PSPF board advisor Steve Vaught.