El Mirador, Palm Springs 1960s
This elegant illustration is from a menu at the El Mirador hotel – described as a ‘magnificent palace of splendor’ when it opened in Palm Springs in 1929. The luxurious hotel attracted a host of celebrities including the scientist Albert Einstein, the artist Salvador Dali and actors such as Shirley Temple and Charlie Chaplin.
The noted English novelist and historian H G Wells stayed here to enjoy the sunshine as did the tycoon Charles Howard who owned Seabiscuit, the famous racehorse that thrilled people in Depression-era America and was the subject of books and films.
Palm Springs was a small and dusty village in the desert when El Mirador was built by Colorado developer Prescott Thresher Stevens and designed by the Los Angeles architects Walker & Eisen. The 20-are property, which had 165 rooms, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts and stables the Coachella Valley’s first golf course, sunk into debt after the 1929 Stock Market crash and was sold at auction three years later for the ‘enormous’ sum of $300,000.
In 1942, when America entered World War II, the hotel was purchased by the Army and converted into a 1600-bed hospital. The small Desert Hospital also opened on its grounds.
In the 1950s and 60s El Mirador became a hotel again – we think this menu is from that era.
In 1972, Desert Hospital bought the entire property, which is now the campus of Desert Regional Medical Center.
The iconic Spanish-Colonial revival-style El Mirador Tower – the name means Lookout – survived these changes and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire in 1989 but the original architect plans remained, and it was faithfully reconstructed and reopened in 1991.
Head down North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs today and you will see the iconic landmark, a reminder of Palm Springs distinguished history.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.