Free Films From the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation presents two films during the Modernism Week Fall Preview Online Experience: “Preserving Modernism: The Town & Country Center” and “The Restoration and Stabilization of the Cornelia White Residence.”

Town & Country Center. Courtesy of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation

This year the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (PSPF) will present two documentary films: one about the preservation of the Town & Country Center, the other about the restoration and stabilization of the Cornelia White Residence.

“Preserving Modernism: The Town & Country Center” chronicles the fascinating story of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation’s efforts to save the Town & Country Center, a significant early “mixed-use” development designed in 1948 by two internationally-famous architects, Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones. Following its debut in 1949, it soon became the most photographed and talked about spot in Palm Springs.

After its glamorous hey-day in the 1950s, the Town & Country Center had deteriorated and suffered severe neglect, to the point where the historic site was under threat of demolition. Luckily, in 2019, city officials approved the restoration and rehabilitation plans put forward by Grit Development, with plans to restore the Town & Country Center as the key to connect all of the new developments in downtown Palm Springs.

The documentary uses archival images and footage to tell the fascinating story of this historic complex.

The Cornelia White House. Courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society

The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will also screen “The Restoration and Stabilization of the Cornelia White Residence,” a film about the Cornelia White House, a historic 1893 wooden residential structure located in downtown Palm Springs, California. It stands as one of the oldest surviving structures in town.

The house was originally constructed in 1893 from railroad ties taken from a defunct narrow gauge railroad that transported homebuyers to an early housing development called Palm Valley Land Company, where Smoke Tree Ranch is today. Wood from the original development was salvaged and used to build the Palm Springs Hotel — the first hotel in Palm Springs. Cornelia B. White, an early pioneer of the Palm Springs area, bought the hotel in 1914 and the bungalow became her home.

Using time-lapse video, “The Restoration and Stabilization of the Cornelia White Residence” documents the “board-by-board” restoration of the historic structure that was undertaken by the city of Palm Springs starting in the summer of 2018.  The film’s intent is to serve as a record of the historic preservation effort and aid historians interested in the history of early Palm Springs.


Film: Preserving Modernism: The Town & Country Center
Run-time approximately 20 minutes /Free viewing

Film: The Restoration and Stabilization of the Cornelia White Residence
Run-time approximately 20 minutes  /Free viewing

These events will be available as a part of the Modernism Week Fall Preview Online Experience starting October 15, 2020 at noon PST at modernismweek.com.

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