Please enable JavaScript to use this site.

Mod Mirage: The Midcentury Architecture and History of Rancho Mirage

Melissa Riche, author of Mod Mirage, the first book to detail the midcentury architecture of Rancho Mirage, shows how the city was transformed into an oasis of influence and important architecture. $12 (1 hr)

Full Details
Author of the first book about the midcentury architecture of Rancho Mirage, Mod Mirage writer, researcher and local historian Melissa Riche will reveal, with historic and contemporary images, how the 1950s creation of Thunderbird and Tamarisk Country Clubs transformed barren desert into an oasis of influence, intrigue, and important architecture.

In only 20 years the success of these clubs and their reputation spawned unforeseen growth that evolved into the city of Rancho Mirage. The clubs quickly attracted celebrities like Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, the Marx Brothers, Bing Crosby, business titans like the Annenbergs, Earle Jorgensen, Ernie Breech, Leonard Firestone, and Robert McCulloch, and U.S. presidents starting with Eisenhower, through to Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

These influencers with deep pockets and creative imaginations left an architectural legacy of beautiful houses and resort-style communities designed by major modernist architects including William F. Cody, Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, William Krisel, E. Stewart Williams, A. Quincy Jones, and William Pereira. With ‘Sunnylands’ as the icing on the architectural cake, Melissa Riche takes you on a visual tour of some of the other splendid residences and explains the phenomenon of a city that was created by golf. 
A book signing will follow the presentation.

Melissa Riche, author of Mod Mirage, (Gibbs Smith, 2018), is also the founder of the architecture preservation group, Preservation Mirage 


Things to Know

This event is for all ages.
The entrance to the Annenberg Theater is located behind the Annenberg Theater Box Office adjacent to the Palm Springs Art Museum's North Parking Lot.
Ample free public parking is available in the multi-level public garage across from Palm Springs Art Museum.
Handicap parking available. This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.


Event Check-in Location

Annenberg Theater, Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 N. Museum Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

View Map

Photo Credits: Cover of Mod Mirage book by Melissa Riche, (Gibbs Smith Pub. Aug.2018), Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Family at their Thunderbird Country Club home, 1954, courtesy Desilu, too, LLC, Thunderbird North, looking NW before grass installed, Marantz Residence, 1960, Photograph by Jim Riche, Jorgensen/Mavis Residence, 1954, Photograph by Jim Riche


Order Summary
No items available.