The House of Tomorrow otherwise known as the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, tells a tale of two families. One is Palm Springs royalty and the other is Rock N Roll royalty.
The Alexander’s were builders and developers who built homes after the war for middle class families in the San Fernando Valley. They were a father and son team; George the father and Robert the son. They teamed up with the architectural firm of Palmer and Krisel and were soon building modernist designs in the San Fernando Valley.
In 1952, upon advice from his doctor, George moved the family and his business to Palm Springs, the playground to the stars. No one at that time was building homes for middle class income/second-home buyers. Everyone thought they were nuts!
The first project they built was the Ocotillo Lodge as a place for friends to stay and for the Alexander’s to show off their new subdivision, Twin Palms. Many stayed and purchased homes. You can tour some Twin Palms homes during Modernism week coming this February. Here is the link.
The House of Tomorrow was built for the son Robert and brought the Alexander’s to national attention when it was featured in Look Magazine in 1962. It showed the Alexander’s living the “way out life” in their new home. It was an innovative design built with four concentric circles with no straight walls!
The Alexander’s were at the center of the Desert social scene, throwing fabulous parties and inviting the Hollywood glitterati. They loved to entertain at the Racquet Club where all of the celebrities went to see and be seen. It was said, “If it was New Years Eve and you weren’t at the Racquet Club, you were a nobody!”
It came as quite a blow to the town when George and his wife and Robert and his wife were killed in a plane crash in 1965. George was 67 and Robert was 40. Who knows what they could have done had they lived on! Alexander homes continue to be treasured today and those who live in these homes consider themselves fortunate.
The house is known best today as the Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway. Elvis leased the house at 1350 Ladera Circle for one year on September 16, 1966 for $21,000.
On April 29th 1967, Priscilla arrived with her family at the house. But guess who lived around the corner? The famous gossip columnist, Rona Barrett. She announced on her show “The King and Priscilla are to be married in Palm Springs!” Well that set off a flood of media attention that put the end to their plans to married out by the pool.
They were rescued by a friend of the family and fellow denizin of the Desert, Frank Sinatra. He offered to loan his private jet to fly them to Las Vegas to be married. So sneaking out the back way behind the pool at 3am on May 1st, Elvis and Priscilla climbed into a limo and made their escape to be married.
Later on that day, they returned to Palm Springs and Elvis carried his beautiful bride over the threshold and up the stairs singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song. Their daughter Lisa Marie was born exactly 9 months on February 1, 1968 from the date of their honeymoon.
The house is open occasionally for tours. It is full of artifacts and pictures of Elvis and Priscilla’s time at the house.
Elvis went on to purchase a home of his own in the Little Tuscany part of town where lived until his death in 1977. Here is a link to see his home.
I haven’t been to Graceland. I would like to know your thoughts and memories, if you have been! I look forward to reading your comments!
Next up is a trifecta, if you will, of three female architects who left their mark on the California landscape back when it was strictly a male dominated profession. Quite a feat! Til then….