Find out why El Rancho Vista Estates is one of the hottest neighborhoods for midcentury living.
Palm Springs is a patchwork of distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character and architectural story. Follow this series of fun facts to decode the history of Palm Springs’ most remarkable neighborhoods and get ready to explore them in person during Modernism Week.
El Rancho Vista Estates was the first of the Wexler & Harrison residential subdivisions built in the 1960s. The development features a collection of single-family homes located northeast of the Palm Springs International Airport, accessed via Vista Chino. This early modernist tract has undergone a renaissance in recent years as the popularity of mid-century styles has returned.
From 1959-1961, the firm Wexler-Harrison designed approximately 70 homes in El Rancho Vista Estates with three floor plans: the Bermuda, the Capri and the Casablanca. Built by Roy Fey, a former Chicago accountant who moved to the desert and developed a small real estate empire, variations on the open plan layouts include flat roofs, butterfly roofs, and the down-turned eave. Decorative concrete block walls add to the midcentury vibe, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls oriented to spectacular mountain views enhance indoor/outdoor living. Fey built 20 additional homes in a standard midcentury ranch style, and 20 more homes were built in the late 1970s.
El Rancho Vista Estates is the first of the residential subdivisions built in Palm Springs by architects Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison.
Richard Harrison owned a home at 1593 Avenida Robert Miguel – an unusual example of an architect living in a neighborhood completely designed by his firm.
Since 2000, John Lewis and Jane Steichen-Lewis have purchased, renovated and resold more than 20 El Rancho Vista homes, often living in the houses while working on them.
“Gateway Park” was added a few years ago and includes a bocce ball court and walking paths.
Famous people who lived in the neighborhood
Richard Harrison (architect and partner of Donald Wexler), fitness expert and bodybuilder Jack LaLanne, and actor-comedian Andy Dick.
Vista Chino on the North.
Gene Autry on the East.
Chia on the South.
Palm Springs International Airport on the West.
Modernism Week Highlights
Explore El Rancho Vista during Modernism Week by snagging a spot on the El Rancho Vista Estates Neighborhood Home Tour on February 14.
For more information about El Rancho Vista and the countless other fascinating nabes that make up Palm Springs, check out this map or visit www.elranchovistaestates.org.
Neighborhood Series written by Cindy Duffy.