I picked up a couple of pretty linen postcards last week of the Del Tahquitz Hotel in Palm Springs, California. That led me, as these purchases usually do, to find more information about this lovely place….
The Del Tahquitz Hotel, named after the nearby Tahquitz River Canyon, was originally an ode to the Pueblo Style of architecture that silent filmactress, Fritzi Ridgeway, loved so much when she built the hotel in the late 1920s. It was part of the Palm Springs’ transformation from a “health resort” for respiratory patients to an exclusive winter resort for the wealthy. The Del Tahquitz was built at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Baristo St. in Palm Springs. Ridgeway loved American Indian styles and decorated the Del Tahquitz with Indian art she had collected on her travels. The hotel officially opened on November 28, 1929.
Ridgeway sold the hotel after just a year (or more, depending which source you refer to) to Tom and Wilberta “Billie” Lipps. Under their watch, the hotel became known for a variety of things like the Saddle Bar X (A western bar with bar stools made from saddles)…..
…the pool and nude sun bathing at the rooftop solarium. Among other things. Like an ice rink floor in the dining room? I couldn’t find a picture of that….
By all accounts, the Del Tahquitz was a favorite place for pilots ferrying airplanes to the Palm Springs Air Field during World War II. The Ferry Command, as they were known, loved the place. Especially Billie, who became “mom” to them whenever they visited. She was the first female president of the California Hotel Association but her main love was taking care of her “boys” in the Ferry Command. Many of those pilots corresponded with Billie until her death, at age 96, in 1991.
The Lipps sold the hotel in 1946 to M.A. Charleston who sold it again in 1960 to the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan. They demolished it soon after they purchased it to make way for their new headquarters.
Sources and further reading:
desertsun.com – A USA Today newspaper.
Resorts of Riverside County by Steve Lech, Arcadia Publishing – Google Books
This is Palm Springs Blog – (hasn’t been updated since
Calisphere.org – Online University of California image archive.