Stacey Donaldson, Designer in Chicago
Stacey Donaldson, Designer in Chicago
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Joshua Tree

December 7 & 8, 2017

Sunrise: 6:30am
Sunset: 4:35pm

Stargazing: Thurs, Dec 7
4:35pm–9:23pm

Stargazing: Fri, Dec 8th
4:35pm–10:28pm


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Stay

Address–
62087 Sunburst Circle
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Entry–
Gate–1241
Front Door–2087

Rules–
Guests are asked to wash their dishes and to remove trash and recycling to the appropriate receptacles provided onsite.


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Joshua Tree National Park

Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness.

The earliest known residents of the land in and around what later became Joshua Tree National Park were the people of the Pinto Culture, who lived and hunted here between 8000 and 4000 BCE.[4] Their stone tools and spear points, discovered in the Pinto Basin in the 1930s, suggest that they hunted game and gathered seasonal plants, but little else is known about them.[4] Later residents included the Serrano, the Cahuilla, and the Chemehuevi peoples. All three lived at times in small villages in or near water, particularly the Oasis of Mara in what non-natives later called Twentynine Palms. They were hunter-gatherers who subsisted largely on plant foods supplemented by small game, amphibians, and reptiles while using other plants for making medicines, bows and arrows, baskets, and other articles of daily life.[5]A fourth group, the Mojaves, used the local resources as they traveled along trails between the Colorado River and the Pacific coast. In the 21st century, small numbers of all four peoples live in the region near the park; the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, descendants of the Chemehuevi, own a reservation in Twentynine Palms.[6]

The park's oldest rocks, Pinto gneiss among them, are 1.7 billion years old. They are exposed in places on the park's surface in the CottonwoodPinto, and Eagle mountains. Much later, from 250 to 75 million years ago, tectonic plate movements forced volcanic material toward the surface at this location and formed granites, including monzogranitecommon to the Wonderland of Rocks, parts of the Pinto, Eagle, and Coxcomb mountains, and elsewhere. Erosion eventually exposed the harder rocks, gneiss and granite, in the uplands and reduced the softer rocks to debris that filled the canyons and basins between the ranges. 

 
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Easy hikes

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Moderate hikes

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Difficult hikes

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Joshua Tree is home to some southwestern desert specialties that are sure to delight the traveling birder. At any time of year, you may see year-round resident bird species such as the greater roadrunner, phainopepla, mockingbird, verdin, cactus wren, rock wren, mourning dove, Le Conte’s thrasher, and Gambel’s quail. Resident birds of prey include the red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, Cooper’s hawk, and prairie falcon.

In winter, you may see the white-crowned sparrow, dark-eyed junco, sage sparrow, cedar waxwing, American robin, and hermit thrush. These birds will remain in the park into March. At about the time the wintering species leave, other species will begin to arrive for the spring and summer nesting season. This group includes species such as Bendire’s thrasher, ash-throated flycatcher, western kingbird, Scott’s oriole, northern oriole, and western bluebird.

 
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THINGS TO DO:

Pappy + Harriet's  –  Joshua Tree Coffee Company  –  Natural Sisters Cafe  –  Cali Greens Cafe  –  Stater Bros. Markets  –  The End  –  Crossroads Cafe & Tavern  –  Country Kitchen  –  Pie For The People  –  Royal Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant  –  Hoof & The Horn

 
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Palm Springs

December 9 & 10

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Stay

Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, California

 


Architecture Tour

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, commonly known as "The Palm Springs Tram" offers great mid-century modern architecture and the best views in the Greater Palm Springs area - just two of many reasons the Palm Springs Tram Cable Car Ride is the biggest tourist attractions in greater Palm Springs. Both of the two Palm Springs Tramway properties - the entrance known as the "Tramway Valley Station" plus the Mountain-top destination for the cable car ride called "The Tramway Mountain Station" were designed by notable mid-century architects.

The Tramway Valley Station, the entrance to the Palm Springs Tram cable car ride, was constructed between 1949-1963, was designed by the Palm Springs-based Albert Frey & Robson C. Chambers Architects. The Tramway Mountain Station, built in 1961, was designed by architect E. Stewart Williams.

The Palm Springs Tramway is located at the entrance to Palm Springs, on the northern most reach of Palm Springs, with the entranceway to the Tram Road located at intersection of North Palm Canyon Drive (Highway 111) and Tramway Road where you'll also find the iconic Albert Frey-designed Visitor's Center, originally built to house the Tramway Road gas station. For more info about the Palm Springs Tram.

 

Tramway Gas Station

Called the Tramway Gas Station, this space-age style and breathtaking mid-century modern icon of Palm Springs architecture, is now the home of the Palm Springs Visitors Center. The kite-shaped roof (metal roof shaped like a kite) hyperbolic is set against gorgeous mountains and blue skies and proudly welcomes thousands of visitors as the awe-inspiring entrance to the City of Palm Springs.

Nicknamed the Tramway Gas Station (currently the City's official Visitor's Center for Palm Springs Tourism) was formerly home to an Enco gas station. The gas station was often referred to as the "Tramway Gas Station" because of its location at the foot of Tramway Road, the long road leading to the entrance for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The building has a distinctive, cantilevered, kite or wedge-shaped canopy (called a hyperbolic paraboloid according to the historic marker plaque on the building itself) was constructed in 1965 and was designed by architects Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers. It is considered to be a prime example of modernism in architecture.

The original gas station closed its doors in the mid 1990s and was in disrepair until it was purchased and beautifully restored in 2000 by artist Montana St. Martins and Clayton Carlson, a retired publishing executive and San Francisco residents. The couple purchased the property for use as a high-end art and sculpture gallery and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to breathe life into the iconic building. The economy didn't agree with the ambitious plans of St Martins and Carlson, and the bank purchased the property. A few years later the by the City of Palm Springs purchased and re-purposed the structure and is now the Palm Springs Visitor's Center, open to the public year round, no charge.

 

The Wexler Steel Houses

Donald Wexler wasn't the first to envision steel homes, but he was the first to combine the upscale modernist ideal with prefabricated construction techniques. Partnering with The Alexander Construction Company, Wexler developed an elegant and affordable steel design for a tract neighborhood in Palm Springs.

His design consisted of a concrete foundation where the prefabricated bathroom and kitchen units were placed, with the rest of the home being built around this central core. The whole house could be built in two days and sell for approximately $14,000.

Unfortunately, the rising cost of steel put a halt to these homes and only seven were built. Six of these steel gems have all been painstakingly restored to their original condition and are classified as a Class 1 Historical Site.

 

The Kaufmann House

The Kaufmann House, also known as the Kaufmann Desert House, located in Palm Springs, California, was designed by Richard Neutra in 1946. This Palm Springs property was one of the final USA buildings built by Richard Neutra, and is one of his most published and most famous houses.

Known for its mid-century modern International Style architecture the residence today is still privately owned today, and was recently listed for sale at approximately $15 million. A potential sale, brokered by Christies by an art-house, did not go through.

This five-bedroom, five-bathroom vacation house in Palm Springs, California was designed to emphasize connection to the desert landscape while offering shelter from harsh climate. Large sliding glass walls open the living spaces and master bedroom to adjacent patios. Major outdoor rooms are enclosed by a row of movable vertical fins that offer flexible protection against sand storms and intense heat.

The "Palm Springs Kaufmann house" was built by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., a Pittsburgh department store tycoon as a desert retreat from cold Pennsylvania winters. The home was made famous by the 1947 photos by Julius Shulman. A decade earlier, Kaufmann commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

After Kaufmann died in 1955, his Palm Springs house stood vacant for many years. Following, the home had a series of owners, including singer and Palm Springs resident Barry Manilow, San Diego Chargers owner Eugene V. Klein and had several renovations. These renovations enclosed a patio, added floral wall paper to the bedrooms and removed a wall for the addition of a media room; additionally the roof lines were altered with the addition of air-conditioning units. In 1992 the home was discovered and purchased by a Brent Harris, an investment manager, and Beth Edwards Harris, an architectural historian; at the time it had been for sale on the market three and a half years.

The Harrises purchased the Kaufman House for $1.5 million, and invested in an extensive restoration project that involved researching archives, photographs, and original vendors who supplied materials to the home as the original plans were not available as the architect several adjoining plots to more than double the land around the 3,200-square-foot house, adding a separate pool house to serve as a viewing pavilion for the main house, and kept a tennis court that was built on a parcel added to the original Kaufmann property.

The home was thought to have been sold on May 13, 2008 for $15 million at auction by Christie's as a part of a high-profile sale of contemporary art. The house had a presale estimate of $15 million to $25 million. The sale later fell through. In October 2008, the house was listed for sale at $1.3 million.

Today, many mid-century modern enthusiasts believe the world famous Palm Springs Kaufmann House to be among the most important houses of the 20th century in the United States. The Kaufmann house was included in a list of all time top 10 houses in Los Angeles, despite its true location in Palm Springs, in a Los Angeles Times survey of architectural experts in December 2008.

 

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway

Hailed by Look Magazine as "The House of Tomorrow" in the 1960's, this distinct home was originally the home of Bob Alexander and his family, of the famous George Alexander Construction Company.

The dominating feature from the street is the polygonal glass bedroom floating beneath a bat-winged roofline. The Alexanders tragically passed in a private plane crash in 1965. In 1966, Elvis leased the estate for one year at $21,000. The original plan was to host his marriage to Priscilla on the property's grounds, until the media learned about it. The ceremony was moved to the Aladdin in Las Vegas, and the couple was whisked back to this Palm Springs landmark the very same day, where Elvis carried Priscilla over the threshold and began their honeymoon.

 

Palm Springs City Hall

Another great Albert Frey design in Palm Springs is the much celebrated mid-twentieth century architectural structure that houses the Palm Springs City Hall. This Palm Springs architectural gem was built in 1952 and is a must-see for your self-guided tour of Palm Springs modern architecture.

The Palm Springs City Hall complex is worth the drive (or walk) two miles east of downtown intersection of Palm Canyon Drive at Tahquitz Canyon Way. The City Hall facade and most of the building looks much the same today as when it was completed in 1957. Frey used repetition in metal piping cut at angles to create a pleasing design that creates a sun-shield for parts of the front of the building. The shade shields the main building from the intense morning and early afternoon sun. You'll notice in the front of the building a portico overhang that has with circles that cut through to provide a pleasing frame or ring around soaring Palm tree. Frey embellished this Palm Springs commercial building with . The brise-soleil (aluminum screens) appear to move and form changing patterns throughout the day or as you pass by the building.