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Remembering The Del Tahquitz Hotel of Palm Springs

The Del Tahquitz Hotel, named after the nearby Tahquitz River Canyon, was originally an ode to the Pueblo Style of architecture.

Fritzi Ridgeway

Silent film actress, Fritzi Ridgeway, loved the Pueblo Style so much that she built the Del Tahquitz Hotel in it in the late 1920s.

Del Tahquitz Hotel Palm Springs, California

The hotel officially opened on November 28, 1929, becoming a part of the Palm Springs’ transformation from a “health resort” for respiratory patients to an exclusive winter resort for the wealthy.

It was built at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Baristo St. in Palm Springs. After just a year, Ridgeway sold the hotel to Tom and Wilberta “Billie” Lipps.

Under their watch, the hotel became known for a variety of things like the Saddle Bar X  western bar with bar stools made from saddles…..

…the pool and nude sun bathing at the rooftop solarium, among other things, like an ice rink floor in the dining room. (I couldn’t find a picture of that. If you have one you’d like to include here, let me know!). By all accounts, the Del Tahquitz, under the Lipps’ ownership, was a favorite place for pilots during World War II.  The Ferry Command, based at the nearby Palm Springs Air Field, loved the place. Especially Billie, who became known as “mom” to them whenever they visited. Billie was the first female president of the California Hotel Association but her main love was taking care of her “boys” in the Ferry Command. Many of those pilots corresponded with Billie until her death, at age 96, in 1991.

The Lipps sold the hotel in 1946 to M.A. Charleston who sold it again in 1960 to the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan. They demolished it soon after they purchased it to make way for their new headquarters.

Interior images from the Del Tahquitz of Palm Springs:

Del Tahquitz lobby

Del Tahquitz guest foom

Del Tahquitz dining room

Lobby sketch

Sources and further reading: – A USA Today newspaper.
Resorts of Riverside County by Steve Lech, Arcadia Publishing  – Google Books
City of Palm Springs Citywide Historic Context Statement
This is Palm Springs Blog – (hasn’t been updated since – Online University of California image archive.

Do you have any information about J.H. Norman?

This is the back of one of the postcards I have from the Del Tahquitz, but I couldn’t find any reference anywhere to the J. H. Norman who is listed as owner here.


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