By the early 1920’s Palm Springs was already becoming a resort town and the competition for building the finest hotel was fierce. Enter Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., the Oasis Hotel (1923) and Modernism to Palm Springs history and the key to its prosperous future. Pearl McCallum McManus was the daughter of Palm Springs first permanent resident, John G. McCallum. A former Indian Agent, McCallum found the dry desert climate conducive his son’s tuberculosis and settled on a ranch in Palm Springs. Pearl and her husband, Austin McCallum, also made Palm Springs home and established their real estate development company Pioneer Properties in town.
Pearl’s competitive spirit led her in the direction of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. (Lloyd Wright) in planning for her Oasis Hotel across the street from the already popular Desert Inn owned by Palm Springs’ other grand dame, Nellie Coffman. Pearl met Wright, Jr. while he was pursuing Helen Taggert, who would become his future wife. (1) Taggert was married to the actor Reginald Pole and owned a home in town. Hollywood had already discovered Palm Springs and its desert as location for filming, a private hideaway and a playful resort town. Continue reading