Month: October 2014

Water in the Desert – Desert Magazine (Summer 2013)

Despite its designation as a desert, the Coachella Valley is blessed with water. The very names associated with the places in the desert, such as The Oasis Hotel, Deep Well, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, Snow Creek and River Estates all conjure up pretty images of water but the early story of desert water is more utilitarian than picturesque; it literally can be seen as a history of ditches. More than …

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Gardening in the Desert – Desert Magazine (May 2013)

“I’m an enemy of the average” stated world-famous Polish opera singer, socialite and six-time-married Madame Ganna Walska, who certainly wasn’t average. In 1941 at the age of 58, she purchased a sprawling Montecito estate and spend the remainder of her long life cultivating the 37-acre property named Lotusland. Fascinated with desert plants, Walska created a stunningly beautiful garden at her Santa Barbara home, one that rivaled other spectacular landscapes seen …

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The Painted Desert – Desert Magazine (April 2013)

All of the big names were here. These artists, whose paintings now garner unimaginable sums at auction, worked “en plein air,” away from their studios, capturing the changing colors in the great outdoors. It was a time of innocence and exploration in California’s desert wilds. Some painters were driven to escape the ravages of tuberculosis, and others, like Lockwood de Forest, who made 10 documented visits in the very beginning …

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Pools in Paradise – Desert Magazine (March 2013)

While public baths have figured prominently since ancient times in civilization-providing both cleanliness and socializing-the widespread presence of private swimming pools for leisure and entertainment in one’s own backyard is truly a 20th century phenomenon. And nowhere is it more evident than here in the desert where the swimming pool is the very definition of leisurely resort living. One of the first in-ground, concrete pools in the United States was …

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Dates in History – Desert Magazine (February 2013)

“It’s a date!” the title of the thin tome proclaims with a cheeky wink. Chronicling the Coachella Valley date industry from a 1930s perspective, this book, written by Wayland Dunham, takes an amused view of this agricultural wonder. The publication recounts the fact in great detail, in a “simple yarn, told in lighthearted, non-technical terms, of the history, romance, propagation, and usage of the fruit of the Date Palm…” EARLY …

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Nightclubbing – Desert Magazine (January 2013)

When the sun goes down in the desert, the cool night sky sparkles with stars. But back in the day, earthbound movie stars spotted locally-just a two-hour drive from Hollywood-seemed to outnumber those in the sky. To go stargazing then, you only had to go nightclubbing. For a few decades in the middle of the last century, the intimate hot spots of the desert were nearly unequalled anywhere in the …

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"Santa Baby" – Desert Magazine (December 2012)

Sand dunes and 80-degree December temperatures might seem like the last conditions on earth to inspire the creation of timeless holiday songs, but, in fact, the Coachella Valley figures prominently in the writing and recording of a few that we hold most dear. “WHITE CHRISTMAS” There are several stories about the genesis of “White Christmas,” surely the most famous tune of all, but one tells of Irving Berlin writing it …

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Pearl McCallum McManus – Desert Magazine (November 2012)

Although a century has passed since her father planted the first fruit trees at the foot of Mount San Jacinto, Pearl McCallum McManus’ influence in the Coachella Valley continues to enhance our quality of life today. Among the first to understand and imagine the possibilities of a gracious life in our desert setting, Pearl’s father was visionary. But he would not survive to see the valley’s transformation into the dreamy …

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Entertaining – Desert Magazine (October 2012)

Stepping out in a couture gown after a perfect evening of cocktails at your own fabulous home might seem impossible in a literal desert, but it is amazing how well it was done here back in the day. In fact, Elsa Maxwell would have been proud of Palm Springs. The most renowned party giver of the 1920s through 1940s, Maxwell was consulted by all in the highest social circles regardless …

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At Home – Desert Magazine (September 2012)

Early in the 20th century, important people visited the desert and then wanted to build their own piece of paradise. The resulting iconic residences represented the most desirable styles of the era. A respite at the Desert Inn was frequently the starting point. many who first enjoyed innkeeper Nellie Coffman’s hospitality thereafter built their own homes. The most significant guest was Thomas O’Donnell. In 1925, he would loan Coffman $350,000 …

At Home – Desert Magazine (September 2012) Read More »

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