Notes and Reasons

As reasons go for a blog, this is the most practical: digging into history means wading through newspaper archives, jarring loose memories; there are photos, momentos, and all of it needs to find a home. A home that can be organized, reordered, amended, corrected, indexed and shared with lots of other people. Where you can post stuff easily, where it can be safe and free of coffee spills and dog hair.

That’s why there is this blog.

But before there was a blog there was a problem. Rumor (and a poorly fact-checked Desert Sun article) had it that renowned midcentury modern architect William Krisel designed houses in Silver Spur Ranch. Really? Which ones?

Mark found a book, then he and I found some time to visit the Historical Society of Palm Desert, then summer came and went . . .

And then we decided it would take a village to unravel the history of our community.

So we started a group that started this project.

Right now, our group is loosely organized but I ran into a better way to organize today.   A note for the future, if we find more volunteers:

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Developers, Architects & Builders

Developers

Silver Spur Properties

Panorama Builders

Silver Spur Ranch Incorporated

Roy Fey

Charles White, Jr.

Bundza-Wethern

Architects

Carlson & Middlebrook

Earl Kaltenbach

Krisel-Palmer

Donald Wexler

Walter S. White

Builders

William Sabolini

Chronological History

1950s

Mar 2  1956

Panorama Builders get approval from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors for the first tract of a 700 acre development. That tract is named Silver Spur Ranch No. 1.

Sept 26  1956

Adrian Schwilck opposes a proposed Riverside County regulation that would require curbs and gutters in new subdivision developments, writing it would “greatly distract from the beauty, character, charm and value of the desert” and that “the great charm of the desert would be lost if we were compelled to improve our subdivision to the same extent as those in urban areas.”

Feb 7  1957

Silver Spur Ranch Water Company (A. Schwilck, pres) gets Calif Public Utilities Commission hearing on its application to establish and operate a water system.

Feb 20  1957

Bing Crosby buys a 16-acre site in Silver Spur Ranch joining other properties owners, including Randolph Scott, Phil Harris and Alice Faye.

Realtor Tony Burke handled the transaction and shared that purchasers must become members of the Silver Spur Ranchers Association and that the new development would feature underground wiring, a community pool, tennis courts, stables and a pitch and putt course. Adrian (and his wife Mercedes) Schwilck are developers w approx “500 homesites.” Photo of Bing w Tony and Tony’s wife / credit: Pospesil Photo