The Village Coffee Shop, Palm Springs 1940 Menu Art
The Village Coffee Shop, Palm Springs 1940 Menu

The Village Coffee Shop, Palm Springs 1940

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Product Description

Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs at 181 North Palm Canyon Drive, the Village Coffee Shop was part of the fabled Desert Inn. This elegant menu cover shows a lone palm tree standing over a desert vista and is dated 1940.

The Desert Inn was founded by Nellie Coffman, the grande dame of Palm Springs who single- handedly made ‘the village’ a destination.

In its early days as a vacation destination, she was responsible for making sure that Palm Springs was not overrun by gambling houses, and also had input into the layout of the town as it expanded.

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 diversion such as archery, golf, horse-riding and 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.

The Village Coffee Shop was open to non-guests and was a popular place to hang out streetside and watch the world go by.

The pioneering Nellie Coffman, instrumental in the growth of Palm Springs, died in 1950 and 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. 

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 interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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