Preservation History

1995

Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board’s Brad Dunning leads effort to designate 7 properties designed by Albert Frey. Of these, Tramway Gas Station becomes major preservation battle against Shadowrock developer’s plans to demolish the building

1995

City Council designates Tramway Gas Station as Class One Historic Site then rescinds designation two weeks later

1997

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (PSPF) is founded by Dr. Carl Prout and Mousie Powell

1998

Tramway Gas Station (Montana St. Martin Gallery) designated Class One Historic Site

1999

Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom) is founded by Peter Moruzzi to advocate for saving 1955 Albert Frey-designed Fire Station #1 from demolition for a parking garage. Victorious. City Council designates property as Class One Historic Site.

2000

PS ModCom secures $50,000 from developer of new Ralph’s Shopping Center at Sunrise and Ramon to pay for historic resources survey of Palm Springs

2001

Group of Alexander Steel Houses declared Class One Historic Sites

2001

When Mod Went Mass: A Celebration of Alexander Homes,&qout; a weekend tour/celebration is produced by PSPF. Events in succeeding years focus on desert Polynesia, William F. Cody, Spanish Colonial Revival, E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler and others

2001

Palm Springs Modern Tours, a local business, begun by architectural expert Robert Imber

2001

Palm Springs Shopping Center (Alpha Beta/Ralphs) at Sunrise and Ramon demolished. Designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers, the building was razed following a difficult preservation battle. PS ModCom lacks funds to continue legal battle after City approves environmental impact report (EIR) allowing demolition

2002

Maslon House in Rancho Mirage summarily demolished without city review setting off international outcry. Rancho Mirage subsequently commissions historic resources survey of city and establishes historic resources commission. Begins systematically designating historic properties throughout city

2002

Tramway Gas Station (Montana St. Martin Gallery) purchased by City for use as Palm Springs Visitors Center. Designated Class One Historic Site

2003

Biltmore Hotel razed. Demolition by neglect

2003

Exterior of former Robinson’s Department Store (The Alley) is more sensitively renovated following consultations with owners and City

2004

Effort to save and adaptively reuse Town & Country Center begins

2005

Palm Springs Desert Museum changes name to Palm Springs Art Museum. Establishes innovative Architecture and Design Council (ADC)

2006

Friends of Town & Country Center established

2006

Release of the first feature-length documentary film on postwar architecture in the desert, Desert Utopia: Mid-century Architecture in Palm Springs

2006

Dwell magazine conference (“Dwell on Design”) on postwar architecture and design

2007

Effort to save E. Stewart Williams’ Potter Clinic fails. Building demolished.

2007

William Krisel and Frey-designed Premiere Apartments destroyed by arson

2007

Santa Fe Federal Savings by E. Stewart Williams is nominated for designation. City Council postpones decision until 2009

2008

Palm Springs Modern Heritage Fund is founded as 501(c)(4) to raise funds in support of elected officials sympathetic to preservation of our historic modern heritage

2009

City Council only designates portions of Oasis Commercial Building and not entire building

2009

Former Santa Fe Federal Savings building threatened with inappropriate adjacent development. Three-year advocacy effort results in designation of entire property as Class One Historic Site by City Council and rejection of Baristo Lofts project

2009

City Council approves Environmental Impact Report that includes demolition of Town & Country Center if developer John Wessman’s proposed project for Desert Fashion Plaza comes to fruition

2010

Proposed replacement of historic landscaping and parking plan fronting Palm Springs City Hall defeated by strong advocacy effort

2011

Battle to save the Town & Country Center (T&CC) results in ModCom’s aggressive actions to have it removed from the proposed Fashion Plaza project. ModCom fully utilizes its attorney in identifying illegal aspects of the City’s Development Agreement (DA), runs a 3/4 page ad congratulating Planning Commission for denying the DA, and sends out direct mail pieces requesting voters to contact the City with their views on the terrible terms of the DA. On June 17, the City/Wessman removed the T&CC from the current project.

2012

North Shore Yacht Club (Albert Frey, 1959) reopens as community center following state-funded adapted re-use project.

2013

Ken Kellogg-designed Chart House Restaurant (1978) destroyed by arson. Attempt to have building rebuilt fails.

2014

Palm Springs Airport ticketing area threatened by insensitive alterations that would have destroyed its open, breezy design. City Council rejects alterations.

2014

Spa Hotel and Bathhouse demolished during discussions with tribe about integrating the structure into a new hotel

2015

William F. Cody-designed Tramway Shell Station. Preservation effort begins and is ongoing.

2016

JW Robinson’s Department Store by architects Pereira & Luckman (1958) is restored. PS ModCom was strong supporter of preservation and adaptive reuse.

2016

PS ModCom’s attorney saves Tahquitz Plaza (Hugh Kaptur, 1973) from demolition at 11th hour. Property designated Class One Site by City Council. Developer changes heart and restores Tahquitz Plaza following preservation standards (completed 2017).