Old Las Palmas holds its own as the center of the universe for those seeking a prestigious address in Palm Springs. Nestled against the San Jacinto Mountains, it is distinguished as one of Palm Spring’s finest neighborhoods. The first of the city’s exclusive enclaves.
The History Of Old Las Palmas
Old Las Palmas has long been considered as one, if not the, most illustrious address in Palm Springs. The neighborhood started out as a citrus grove developed into an upscale residential community by Alvah Hicks, a builder from New York, along with his son, Harold. By the late 1920s, Old Las Palmas already featured an exciting collection of eclectic homes designed by some of the most prominent architects of the period.
Old Las Palmas’ secluded location with the San Jacinto Mountains as its backdrop attracted a bevy of would-be residents, from Hollywood’s most powerful celebrities to industry magnates. Since then, the neighborhood has become one of the most glamorous residential areas in the Coachella Valley.The El Mirador Hotel developer P.T. Stevens, with contractor Alvah Hicks and his son Harold, subdivided this former citrus grove during the mid-1920s. Nellie Coffman’s Desert Inn became the main attraction. The Tennis Club spread out on the south side of the wildly popular sanitorium turned resort, while Old Las Palmas grew up around it on the north. This famous, early California mission-style hotel was the epicenter of town for decades.
In large part thanks to Coffman, the majority of Old Las Palmas homes were built in the 1920s through the 1940s. Along curvilinear streets inspired by the work of Frederick Law Olmsted sit a substantial collection of historic early California and Spanish revival homes, their red tile roofs peaking above the walled front gates. Luxurious, estate-worthy lots sized at a half or full acre, or even larger, present mature landscape. Privacy walls in assorted styles lend a subtle grandeur and mystique. Adding to its desirability, Old Las Palmas is walking distance to the full downtown experience. For those who are counting, the neighborhood organization cites the largest number of celebrity homes in Palm Springs. Among them: the Dinah Shore Estate (Donald Wexler, 1964), a Mediterranean estate owned by Harry Winston and rented by Elizabeth Taylor, and houses purchased by Donna Reed, Liberace, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Sidney Sheldon, Kirk Douglas, Kitty Carlisle, Jack Warner, Lily Tomlin, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and others. In the spectrum of exceptional architecture, the Buff and Hensman home built in 1969 for Laurence Harvey received a brilliant modern update by Marmol Radziner. Two homes by architect Cliff May live in Old Las Palmas, as does the private Spanish estate of renowned interior designer Steve Chase.
Old Las Palmas Today
- Close to Palm Spring’s best nightlife and dining spots – Old Las Palmas is minutes away from a wide array of local pubs and parks, such as Truss & Twine, Workshop Kitchen+Bar, Bootlegger Tiki, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, Jake’s, Cheeky’s, Birba, Trio, On the Mark, and Copley’s.
- World-class shopping – Several of Palm Springs’ premier shopping spots are a short drive away from Old Las Palmas, including the Uptown Design District, Downtown Palm Springs, Backstreet Art District, and The River. Art galleries and dealers, fashion boutiques, designer labels, and mid-century modern specialty shops are some of the retail offerings. TTK favorites include Al La Mod, the Shops at 1345, Flow Modern, Boulevard, Christopher Anthony, Modernway, and Shag.
- Outdoor recreation – Nature is part of life in Palm Springs, and outdoor recreation opportunities are abundant in the city. The closest outdoor restination to Old Las Palmas is Tachevah Canyon, located west of the community. Several trails lead to Tachevah Canyon’s hidden wonders, including the Tachevah Falls.
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