Palm Springs, CA – Mid-Century Modern Mecca

I thought I’d found my happy place…until I arrived in Palm Springs, California. There is no place on earth quite like it. Palm Springs has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture anywhere. The yearly offered Modernism Week is a one-of-a-kind celebration of these beautiful buildings and homes. It’s remarkable to think that so many of them have been preserved and restored so that they can be revered even today.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, William Cody and William Krisel are just a few of the incredible minds and hands that helped shape this gorgeous community. You cannot drive anywhere in Palm Springs without witnessing the simplicity and beauty of mid-century modern design.
Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, William Holden and Steve McQueen called Palm Springs home at one point.
Next year, I fully intend on doing the Modernism Week right by attending the walking tours, bus tours and home tours. I’ll be saving up and have something to look forward to. However, if you’re on a budget like our family was this time around, you can take what I call the poor man’s tour any time of the year.
When you drive into Palm Springs, you can’t miss the gorgeous Tramway Gas Station built in 1965 by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers, which now serves as the city’s visitor center.
Pick up a “Map of Modern Palm Springs” for $5 and you will hold in your hand a detailed treasure map that features addresses and building history for all the modern points of interest in the city, which are too many to tackle in one day. For you nerd bomber Apple lovers, you can download the app at directly on to your Apple device.

Tramway Gas Station
Tramway Gas Station

Here are just a few pictures we took on our self-guided tour:

She's not mid-century....but she's an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.
She’s not mid-century….but she’s an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.
According to the artist, this is what she was sporting underneath….what do you think?
Palm Springs features it’s own walk of fame complete with stars not unlike Hollywood.
Sinatra residence which features a beautiful amoeba-shaped pool just on the other side of this view.
Not a famous person’s house, but merely an example of what is standard in the area as far as design.


100 101 112 113 114 115

"Armed Response" gave us a giggle. In other words, "All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we'll put a cap in ya."
“Armed Response” gave us a giggle. In other words, “All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we’ll put a cap in ya.”

There is certainly no shortage of MCM to fill your cup. It’s definitely a new favorite spot for me. Now to manage a weekend away….now that I’ve seen it, I have to get back!

Next week, I’ll feature just one of the many mid-century modern/modish boutiques on Palm Canyon Drive. The shops alone are worth a trip…

6 thoughts on “Palm Springs, CA – Mid-Century Modern Mecca

  1. So now the FAYE connection….muhahaha….Your Nana Faye’s mother….Gertrude Shephard lived, loved, tanned, wore furs and diamonds and ate her favorite meal (KFC) in Palm Springs. She worked as a night nurse at Desert Memorial so that she could tan poolside while she slept! Ah yes, I spent quite a few summer nights watching bats swoop into her pool for a drink and listened to her stories of late nights and big bands!

  2. I spent many summer days in my twenties tanning by a Palm Springs pool with my girlfriends. Now I know why I was so attracted to the place. The architecture is amazing. I grabbed the $5 map too. But didn’t have time to do the drive. It looked very informative! Your husband is a good man. I was doing self-guided tours with my iPhone and GoogleMaps. My mom thought we were in the future. I was a little frazzled though.

    1. The map route is a great way to do it, however, you’re really only seeing the street view, or at least just the front of the home. I will definitely plan ahead next time and do as many of the tours as possible. For now, I’m living vicariously through your posts of the week. I would go nutty if I had to do it electronically. Guess I’m old fashioned that way. 😉 Keep those pictures coming!

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