Some might say the Tennis Club neighborhood has it all: revered architecture, natural beauty, downtown location, and an incredible relationship to the mountain for shade and views. They wouldn’t be the first ones to say it. Its namesake lies in a pair of mountainside tennis courts built by socialite-developer Pearl McManus. In 1947, A. Quincy Jones and Paul Williams transformed the compound’s original monastery facade with modernists’ hands. A fabulous round pool and the famous Bougainvillea Room (a hot spot for Golden Age parties) secured the Tennis Club’s legacy.
Today the area is a storied blend of residential, commercial, and small boutique hotel properties. Many were spectacularly built in the 1920s and 1930s; some were originally homes. Casa Cody is the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs and a designated Class 1 historic site. The new Amin Casa was once screen legend Gloria Swanson’s house. The oft-photographed, Mediterranean-style Korakia Pensione belonged to Scottish painter Gordon Coutts. Colony 29 housed a 1920s artist colony, and Albert Einstein found respite at The Willows when it was the private home of a close friend. Early midcentury makes a strong showing with major curb appeal at The Del Marcos Hotel (William Cody, 1947), The Hideaway (Herbert Burns, 1947), Holiday House (Herbert Burns, 1951), and Orbit In (Herbert Burns, 1957). Underground power lines ensure picturesque views. The Tennis Club’s noteworthy properties also include Frey House II (Albert Frey, 1962) and almost the entire architectural collection of Herbert Burns. The Gothic revival Community Church built in 1936 by Charles Tanner received later additions by Harry Williams.
The neighborhood is an assemblage of architecture spanning quintessentially Californian early revival homes to post-war midcentury and modern, the ’60s and ’70s ranch-style, and newer townhomes in the Spanish style. It paints a picture of the entire evolution of architecture in Palm Springs, wrapped in a beautiful setting at the base of the mountain only steps from downtown.
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