Friday, November 6, 2009

The Importance of Context

These two photos taken about eighty years apart illustrate the importance of context. In the top image from a Gail Collection photo, the original El Mirador Hotel (1927, Walker & Eisen) is viewed from Palm Canyon Drive - originally Main Street. The tower was lost in a fire in 1989. In the lower photo, a replica of the original tower (1991, WWCOT/Chris Mills) now stands as a symbol of the Desert Regional Medical Center. Without a shred of irony, this replica tower was designated as Palm Springs' first Class 1 Historic Site....proving I guess that you don't have to be old to be historic...

The contemporary image was shot from Indian Canyon because in the intervening years an office building was built that blocks the original view. As for the context, drought-tolerant landscaping was really fashionable in the 1920s...I'm just saying...


  1. Oh goodie, now I can be historic without having to admit my age!


  2. While I respect and support some, but not all, historic preservation designations, this type of legislation can get out of hand. Witness the completlely out of control historic preservation attitudes in San Francisco. Every neighborhood is deemed a "potential" historic district, making it extremely impossible to modify or alter even the most mundane, working class, wood frame house. Even in PS not everything old, or everything "mid-century" is worth saving.

    Doug S.