Modernist Oasis: Rise, Fall, and Rebirth in Palm Springs

Baker, James Vernon , Department of English, University of Virginia
Howard, Alan, Department of English, University of Virginia

California in the 1920’s symbolized an era of possibility and new direction for the American imagination. The fledgling film industry was establishing an outpost in the arid Southern California hills, and new arrivals came daily to remake their fortunes. In the desert 120 miles to the east, new visions of architecture, design, and modes of living were being expressed in a natural oasis at the foot of the San Jacinto mountains. Over the next four decades, Palm Springs California served as a living laboratory where old ways of thinking about how residences, commercial buildings, and civic treasures should look, function, and be constructed, spurred on by a group of wealthy and glamourous individuals who felt free to take chances. As is the way with all trends and styles, these forms fell from favor in the decades that followed, only to be rediscovered by a new generation with their own wealth and glamour interested in preserving these treasures and protecting the legacy of a place apart.

MA (Master of Arts)

Originally published on the XRoads site for the UVA American Studies program. Years range from 1995-2005. Content is captured at the level of functionality available on the date of capture.

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