The Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Visitor’s Center – Desert Road Trip Part 1

It seems like we just can’t stay away from the road!  Neek, Sar and I once again piled into the car and took off.  Once again, one of my sisters (the youngest) was getting married and we were invited.  But it wasn’t in Oregon; this was a destination wedding in Palm Springs, California.  We decided to make the most of this occasion and planned a desert road trip!

The first place we wanted to visit, even before checking into our hotel, was the Palm Springs Visitor Center.  It was originally an Enco service station called the Tramway Gas Station, named so because of its location at the foot of Tramway Road, which leads to the base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.  Built in 1965 and designed by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers, its distinctive, cantilevered, wedge-shaped canopy is considered to be a prime example of modernist architecture.  It was intended to be the first building drivers saw when approaching Palm Springs from the north via California State Route 111.

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We parked behind the structure and walked over to check it out.  One of the first things I noticed was the plaque showing that it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

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It was a sunny day, but fortunately it was not summertime, so it was under 100 degrees Fahrenheit!  We got to the glass door and Neek noticed that when you open it there is an unusual gap at the end, so I thought it might be the original one built over 50 years ago.

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Inside the building, it is both an art showcase for beautiful photographs of the area and a gift shop for buying Palm Springs memorabilia.  Walking around, there are plenty of exhibits that really give you a sense of the history of the place.  There were also lots of cool T-shirts and sweatshirts, but we already came prepared with full suitcases!

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Going back outside, it was nice to be able to just sit and relax.  There are plenty of shaded areas just outside for visitors coming in from a long drive to just chill out for a while.  The Palm Springs Visitor Center may not be a place to stay long, but the visit certainly is memorable!

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11 thoughts on “The Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Visitor’s Center – Desert Road Trip Part 1

  1. I was momentarily confused there. After looking at the the photos of the 1960s memorabilia, I intially thought that the “Gay Desert Guide” was also from the 1960s. I was thinking “gay” – “happy”!!?!! Then I realised it meant gay – gay. Duh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi U 2…..just read your wonderful article on palm springs…..hoping to see something about Ruddy’s General Store Museum……did I miss something? Regardless, I love reading about your adventures…
    Sally McManus
    Palm Springs

    Liked by 1 person

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