Monday, February 15, 2010

O’Donnell House

Before leaving home for Palm Springs, Tim and I watched the episode of California Gold featuring Ojo del Desierto (Eye of the Desert), an amazing Spanish-style home built above Palm Springs by oil magnet Thomas O’Donnell in 1925. We had never heard of O’Donnell, but were determined to find out more during our trip.

Sure enough, looking through one of the tourist magazines in our hotel room, I found a phone number for tours of the O’Donnell home. Turns out an extremely friendly and knowledgeable woman named Laura (the curator of the house) gives private tours if no weddings, etc., are scheduled that day. We arranged to meet her Saturday morning before heading out of town.

Perched above Tahquitz Canyon, the house has been meticulously restored to its early 20th-century splendor and can be rented for parties or sleep-overs. But for 90 minutes, it was all ours as Laura described the role Thomas O’Donnell and his contemporaries played in shaping the history of Palm Springs. The story she told was fascinating and the view of the valley phenomenal. See for yourself:

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