History of Vista Las Palmas
Welcome to Vista Las Palmas, the Mid-Century Palm Springs neighborhood where architecture and celebrity make history!
In Vista Las Palmas, the firm of Palmer and Krisel, as well as architect Charles Dubois, designed approximately 330 homes. William Krisel contributed his iconic “butterfly” roof houses, a folded plate roof design, and several others. Charles Dubois created the distinctive “Swiss Miss” A-frame, among others. The mix of designs creates one of the most varied, yet cohesive neighborhoods in Palm Springs, and it is always a stop on any architectural tour of the area.
Robert Alexander and his wife, Helene, moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs in 1957, living in Vista Las Palmas. Their special custom home at 1350 Ladera is “The House of Tomorrow” which was featured in an eight-page spread in Look Magazine’s September 1962 issue. Designed by Palmer & Krisel, the home features a series of circular glass pavilions under a single, “batwing” roof. Electronic controls were installed to manipulate indoor climate, outside lights and automatic rain. Lava rock walls and Jetson’s-style furniture made it a fabulous showplace. The cost of the new home—said to be $300,000, set a new standard for luxurious living in Southern California. In 1968, the home was used as the secret getaway for Elvis and Priscilla Presley where they spent their honeymoon.
On Sunday, November 14, 1965, George & Robert Alexander and their wives were killed in an airplane crash when their Lear Jet en route to Burbank crashed into the Little Chocolate Mountains northwest of Indio. The Alexander legacy lives on today in the preserved Mid Century neighborhood of Vista Las Palmas.
In the 1950’s celebrities from Los Angeles used Vista Las Palmas as their desert retreat from busy work schedules. Celebrities who once lived and played in Vista Las Palmas include Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Colonel Tom Parker, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, George Hamilton, Kirk Douglas, Dinah Shore, John Phillips of the Mama’s and Papa’s, and Trini Lopez (still a resident.)
Today, Vista Las Palmas has become a symbol of Mid-Century Modern design for the distinctive homeowner who wants the relaxed lifestyle of the desert. Owners include weekenders from nearby Los Angeles, part-time residents from a colder home base, to the full-time residents who desire year-round peaceful desert living. Residents share an interest in preserving the history and architecture that so perfectly complements the desert landscape.