the Sandpiper


Gallery Photo Credits:

Photographs by Julius Shulman. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10).

Aerial photo courtesy of Historical Society of Palm Desert.

It was always beautiful. And distinctive.


Now it’s iconic.


But back in 1958 there was a fundamental problem of language when it came to the Sandpiper development.


What was it?


You see, there was no word (let alone notion) for owning your own home in a neighborhood of shared community property.


(It would take until the mid-1960s and a guy in Utah named Keith Romney — yes, he’s a relation — for condominium to enter the vernacular.)


So the Sandpiper’s developers came up with a novel idea: they called it an “own your own hotel” and to seal the idea, your purchase also bought linen and towel service (with a vague promise of room service when, at its start, the project was to include an on-site cocktail lounge and restaurant).


No wonder Oklahoma oilman Rocky Harris was said to have driven to the Sandpiper between golf tournaments to purchase a completely furnished unit.


From inception, the firm of Palmer & Krisel designed not only Sandpiper’s architecture but also its urban landscape, creating on 45 acres what became after nearly a decade, 16 “circles” of units, as well as two “half-circles,” each surrounding a swimming pool and green belts.

When words were hard to come by.

Topics: Mid Century Modern Architecture, William KriselPalm Desert History,

Palm Desert Modernism, Mid Century Modern Home Map, Self-Guided Mid Mod Tour