When walking through the Deepwell neighborhood, one will find a variety of architectural styles, from the mid-20th century to the new environmentally "green" houses. The area also has a variety of landscapes. With only a few homes behind tall hedges, full creative designs are visible including many drought tolerant native plantings. Residents take great pride in their homes.
At first glance, the name Deepwell seems strange in a desert community, but according to "The Unofficial History of Deepwell" by Ron Root, it is appropriate. It was here that in about 1926 that scientist Henry Pearson bought property and dug a well. Though he hit water at 100 feet, his curiosity forced him to keep going and he didn't stop drilling until 630 feet. Consequently, the name Deepwell was coined.
Today, we are a neighborhood of an estimated 369 homes including the 19 Biltmore houses. The boundaries are Mesquite Avenue on the north, South Sunrise Way on the east, East Palm Canyon on the south, and Deepwell Ranch to the west. This entire area is a mecca for bicyclists, joggers, and dog walkers. Many people get to know their neighbors or at least their dogs through daily walking activities.
We have had celebrities living here; most recently was Loretta Young. However, Jerry Lewis, Bill Holden, Marjorie Main, and Tippi Hedren, to name a few, owned homes.
We pride ourselves on being a friendly place in which to live. In fact, we have a number of annual neighborhood events to promote neighbors getting to know neighbors. The Deepwell Estates Neighborhood Organization (DENO) sponsors these happenings. In addition, we have an active Neighborhood Watch program and a newsletter.
DENO is one of the oldest neighborhood organizations in Palm Springs. According to our records, it was organized in 1995 and in joining, residents agreed to architectural requirements, regulations regarding compliance with building laws, fences, hedges, and zoning regulations with annual dues of $25. Their focus was to have "influence with Palm Springs City agencies as well as keeping Deepwell Estates in a highly desirable position and good neighborly relationships."
The socialization goal continues today through annual events including the Annual Meeting in January and neighborhood garage sale in February. In March, six homes opened their backyards for the Garden Walk. The beauty and variety of outdoor living spaces is absolutely spectacular. Progressive Deepwell in April provides plenty of good food and conversation. August Summer Survival is an evening cocktail party. And Taste of Deepwell (potluck) in October means we get to experience favorite recipes of those participating.
It is the openness and friendliness of residents that keeps the organization functioning and Deepwell a desirable place in which to live.
El Rancho Vista Estates was the first of the Wexler & Harrison residential subdivisions. Developer Roy Fey, a former Chicago accountant who came to the desert and developed a small real estate empire, built it. He saw the potential Southern California Modernist architecture had in the emerging post-war housing market. His belief in the product led him to use the street name “East Avenida Fey Norte” to memorialize his involvement in the development – a not uncommon practice among residential developers. The development is a collection of approximately 75 single-family homes located northeast of the Palm Springs International Airport, accessed via Vista Chino.
Vibrant sunset, El Rancho Vista Estates.
Variations on several open plan layouts include flat roofs, butterfly roofs, and the down-turned eave, which became something of a signature in later Harrison projects. Other character-defining details include now-classic mid-century architectural elements like decorative concrete block walls and floor-to ceiling glass walls oriented to spectacular mountain views that enhance indoor / outdoor living. This early modernist tract has undergone a renaissance in recent years as the popularity of mid-century style s has returned. Harrison owned a home in the development at 1593 Avenida Robert Miguel – an unusual example of an architect living in a neighborhood completely designed by his firm.
Beginning in 2000, the husband-wife team of John Lewis and Jane Steichen-Lewis has bought renovated and resold more than twenty El Rancho Vista homes. They often live in the houses while working on them, and focus on the preservation of the original shapes and textures while incorporating a spare use of dramatic colors and natural desert landscaping.