Exquisite Abernathy House was center of music, art and culture in Palm Springs


The Palm Springs International Jazz Festival will bring a joyous celebration to the valley May 14 and 15, 2022, as part of the Oasis Music Festival.

The Palm Springs International Jazz Festival will convey a joyous celebration to the valley Could 14 and 15, 2022, as part of the Oasis Audio Pageant.

His equally named cousin was generating national news a several a long time before James Logan Abernathy decamped from Kansas and moved to La Jolla, California, with his wife, Zemula.

The Abernathy family of Kansas City was well known and prosperous. Way back again in 1856, James L. Abernathy and his siblings William and John founded Abernathy Brothers Furniture, a wholesale and retail furniture organization in the thriving town on the Kansas side of the Missouri River. James was the most distinguished of the three brothers, owning attained rank of lieutenant colonel in the Civil War and serving as mayor of Leavenworth for owning banking and insurance coverage considerations. Understandably, several of his descendants were being named immediately after him.

As the spouse and children was notable, all their doings, get-togethers, situations and nights on the town had been newsworthy. So several years later in 1938, when Carolyn Ridemour Abernathy submitted an injunction with the court to cease her ex-partner James Logan Abernathy from marrying Chicago socialite Caryl Nicholson, the sister-in-regulation of actor and producer Orson Welles, it was entrance page stuff.

The New York Every day News noted: “Gold Coastline relationship turned a race between Dan Cupid and the Sheriff tonight with a prospective bridegroom in hiding and his debutante bride-to-be standing helplessly on the sidelines.”

The sheriff went to the furnishings company office and asked for James L. Abernathy. He was demonstrated to an workplace. The sheriff summarized: “Then it was all up as much as serving the papers there, the gentleman kicked the papers on the flooring and explained to me I experienced the erroneous guy.” He had served James L. Abernathy, II, the bridegroom’s in the same way named cousin.

Happily married, James Logan Abernathy, who had been erroneously served, moved to La Jolla with his unusually named wife and was properly out of the headlines. Zemula Abernathy died in 1951 and her partner, James Logan Abernathy, married Helen Beatty in 1957.

The winters get chilly and moist in La Jolla, and the pair uncovered their way along a nicely-worn path to Palm Springs exactly where they would be showcased in the newspaper routinely for their philanthropy, swanky parties and, most importantly, for their exquisite property.

The masterpiece of a house was intended by grasp architect and bon vivant William Cody in 1962. Its L-shaped wings were being stacked in opposition to a central pavilion recalling architect Richard Neutra’s “pinwheel” flooring options in an exuberant response to his Kaufmann house a short distance away. Each individual developing wing was topped with a hipped roof finished with deliciously thick wooden shake shingles surrounded by a lanai that luxuriously traced the footprint of the house creating some 10,000 square feet of protected, and for that reason shaded, area. The overhanging roof system, punctuated by skinny posts, doubled the residing house of the property, sheltered the pool and made for the greatest celebration setting.

The artist first arrived to the desert in 1945 to attract strategies for a contemplated addition to the Desert Inn. Quickly he was doing the job all around the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs had turn out to be a fashionable weekend and winter season retreat for the loaded and well known in the midcentury. These patrons essential architecture.

Cody’s vocation flourished alongside with the metropolis. He completed the Del Marcos Lodge in 1947 and was recognized by the AIA Southern California Chapter with an honorable point out. The Thunderbird Dude Ranch employed Cody in 1950 to remodel by itself into the elegant Thunderbird Place Club. The captivating style led to other commissions for clubhouses, civic buildings and household developments.

Cody’s Eldorado Place Club, Tamarisk Region Club, the Racquet Club and the Tennis Club disseminated midcentury modern-day design throughout the valley and further afield in California, Arizona, Texas, Cuba and Mexico. He worked expanding the Palm Springs Spa Hotel setting up in 1960, imbuing it with celebrant model.

Cody’s residential initiatives emphasized essential factors of the contemporary aesthetic: simplicity of type, pure mild, and a seamless link in between inside of and out. His layouts also reflected his persona: exuberant, sybaritic and sociable. He beloved a cocktail bash.

The Abernathy home furniture worry was bought out in 1950, making both equally headlines and the total family members even extra fabulously rich. It was easy to understand that some member of the relatives would be identified in the desert and that James Logan Abernathy would ask William Cody to style and design his new dwelling.

James and Helen Abernathy joined Palm Springs society and their routines frequently designed the paper. Explained as “prominent in social and activity circles in addition to the artwork environment.” The Mrs. Abernathy was a member of the Palm Springs department of the American Penwomen, and Palm Springs Pathfinders. With her partner she was a member of Thunderbird Country Club, the La Jolla Seaside and Tennis Club and the San Diego Yacht Club. The Abernathys on a regular basis entertained at the dwelling, web hosting rewards, friends’ weddings and cocktail get-togethers.

They started the Palm Springs Civic Artwork Affiliation. Helen was an achieved artist, possessing studied at the Hopkins Faculty of Wonderful Arts in San Francisco less than Rudolph Schaeffer, University of California, Berkeley, with Charles Orson Horton and at Scripps University in Claremont with Millard Sheets and Henry Lee McFee. She signed her paintings in funds letters, HAB.

Their intent was to set up an artwork gallery and a school for painting with “a modern day solution and emotion.” They desired to create an art centre for the enhancement of “art, tunes and theater for use by the general public.” In addition, a gallery, acknowledged as the Palm Springs Contemporary Art Gallery, was set up in a part of the El Paseo Theater Setting up on Palm Canyon Drive. Board meetings had been held at the Cody-designed pavilion residence.

The Palm Springs Civic Artwork Association would sooner or later husband or wife with the Desert Museum in an exertion to “house each type of resourceful expression” the place the museum would become “a middle for the whole location wherever portray, theatre, and songs will obtain a household.” The modern day notion of this kind of cultural choices nonetheless reverberates in the valley right now and the Abernathy Household is nonetheless in the pretty center of it.

The residence will be the web page of a advantage, featuring a uncommon probability to go to a cocktail bash akin to those thrown in the midcentury. In the tradition of the Abernathys, the Palm Springs Worldwide Jazz Pageant is bringing a joyous celebration to the valley May possibly 14 and 15 as aspect of the Oasis Audio Festival. Headlining is Grammy winner Christian McBride.
Tickets are obtainable on the web for the musical performances (oasismusicfestival.com) and for the cocktail celebration at the Abernathy Property at oasismusicfestival.com/portfolio-product/abernathy-house.

Tracy Conrad is president of the Palm Springs Historic Society. The Thanks for the Reminiscences column seems Sundays in The Desert Solar. Produce to her at [email protected].

This report initially appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sunshine: Palm Springs Historical past: Beautiful Abernathy Dwelling was center of lifestyle


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