Desert Inn, Palm Springs 1920s/1930s Matchbook Cover
Desert Inn, Palm Springs 1920s/1930s Matchbook Map

Desert Inn, Palm Springs 1920s/1930s

Regular price $25.00 $0.00 Unit price per
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Product Description

The Desert Inn was founded in 1909 by Nellie Coffman, the grande dame of Palm Springs who single- handedly made ‘the village’ a destination and started the trend of desert vacationing. Born in Indiana in 1867, Nellie first visited Palm Springs in 1908 and bought 1.75 acres of land on what would become Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive for a mere $2,000. Her intention was to open a sanitorium for tubercular patients with her doctor husband – accommodation was in canvas tents – but her gracious hospitality and keen business sense led to different plans. As a single mother of two sons – she and her husband parted ways but never divorced – the Desert Inn morphed into a boarding house and Nellie later borrowed $350,000 from California oilman Thomas O’Donnell and expanded the property into a high-class hotel.
The extensive grounds featured large lawns, flowering shrubs, cacti and palm trees. The inn featured the first swimming pool in the Coachella Valley and offered guests diversions such as archery, golf, horse-riding and even ‘ sun-tan huts’  where they could sunbathe in complete privacy. Nellie also brought the first telephone service to Palm Springs and opened an offshoot of the department store Bullocks in the hotel.
Hollywood stars flocked to the inn’s cottages and bungalows. Child film star Shirley Temple had a bungalow named after her and smashed a bottle of milk on the doorway to ‘launch’ it. Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy van Heusen. Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy were just some of the celebrities seen at Van Heusen’s Piano Bar at the Desert Inn.
However, Nellie operated a segregation policy for guests. The famed actor and tap dancer Bill ‘ Bojangles’ Robinson (1878- 1949) who performed the famous stair dance with child star Shirley in the Little Colonel in 1935 ( the first inter-racial couple to dance on screen, they became lifelong friends) was one of many black Americans not allowed to stay at the hotel. When Nellie died in 1950, her sons sold the Desert Inn to Hollywood actress and producer Marion Davies, long-term partner of businessman and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. The inn was demolished in 1966 and in its place rose the Desert Fashion Plaza, which in turn was razed in 2012. This archival print is from a matchbook cover – matchbooks were invented in 1892 – and is believed to be from the 1920s or 1930s.

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the map of Palm Springs from the rear of the matchbook.

All printed in USA.

Share this Product