Palm Springs Preservation Foundation


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Quarterly Newsletter 2-2012

1. The PSHS Administration Building (Wexler & Harrison, 1957) continues to be the focus of an intense advocacy effort. The many twists and turns of this advocacy are chronicled in detail at

2. La Serena Villas, a collection of historic bungalows targeted for demolition in 2008, has been acquired by the owners of the Del Marcos Hotel. The new owners have enlisted the help of o2 Architecture (Lance O'Donnell, principal) to develop plans for the rehabilitation of the site. To read about PSPF’s role in this preservation advocacy see

3. The Class 1 Historic Site nomination of Palm Springs’ first modernist International-style structure, the Kocher-Samson Building (Albert Frey & A. Lawrence Kocher, 1934), has been submitted to the city on behalf of PSPF by board member Patrick McGrew. The nomination, unanimously approved by the city’s Historic Site Preservation Board, will be presented to the city council tomorrow evening. See

4. In May the Palm Springs city council voted to fund the renovation of the Welwood Murray Memorial Library “and Gift Shop.” Building improvements are projected to cost $650,000. While the details of the renovation still need to be reviewed by the city's Historic Site Preservation Board, the current proposal appears to be a sympathetic rehabilitation of the historic library. This long but ultimately successful preservation advocacy is chronicled at

5. As part of a PSPF board of directors’ initiative to energize the city’s historic resources program, PSPF board member Ron Marshall recently submitted paperwork for the Class 1 Historic Site nomination of the J.W. Robinson Department Store Building (Luckman & Pereira, 1958) to the city's Historic Site Preservation Board. The building (currently The Alley) won a prestigious architectural award in 1958. See

6. Most people are aware of the famous steel houses created by Wexler & Harrison, but in his Artbound piece on Steel Homes, Patrick McGrew discusses the history of local steel houses that begins with the construction of an extant 1937 home and concludes with a new steel house currently under construction in the Ruth Hardy Park neighborhood that was designed by architect Lance O'Donnell of o2 Architecture. To watch the video see

7. A street widening project on Kaye Ballard Lane and Desert Sun Ranch Street in Rancho Mirage threatens to take significant street frontage away from the historic Kenaston Residence (E. Stewart Williams, 1957). At the June 21, 2012 Rancho Mirage city council meeting PSPF board member Ron Marshall asked the council to delay a decision on the project to give the city’s Historic Resources Commission time to assess the impact the street widening project may have on the modernist residence. The Kenaston Residence is prominently featured in PSPF’s 2005 E. Stewart Williams tribute journal. See

8. In conjunction with DOCOMOMO's 6th Annual National Tour Day, PSPF board member Gary Johns will make a special presentation of his popular slide lecture, Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springs on Sunday, October 7, 2012. The lecture is free but reservations are required. See

9. Congratulations to PSPF board member Patrick McGrew who was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board. Also appointed to this important board was architect Lee Glenn (for a three year term) and Sheila Grattan (for a one year term).

10. Welcome to new PSPF board member Gary Grasso. Gary has an extensive public relations background that includes past involvement with the revitalization and redevelopment of Old Pasadena, California, now recognized as a national model for “main street” preservation efforts. See

11. Save the Date! From March 22-24, 2013 we will celebrate our “Leisure Life” Weekend which will recognize Palm Springs' unique midcentury condominium lifestyle. The tour will visit several complexes in south Palm Springs including Canyon View Estates and other notable condominium developments. See

A sincere "Thank You!" to our Contributors:

Advocates ● Brian Dittmar ● John Franke ● Robert Moon ● Contributors ● Katie Burnham ● Allan Lamb ●

And to our 2012 year-long Partners:

Jazzercise ● Signs By Tomorrow ● Gary Wexler Design ● Casa Cody

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

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