As mentioned in my post about Rock-a-Hoola, I love photographing abandoned locations, and we stumbled upon quite a few during our road trip, dotted in between tiny towns, and miles of fields. So here is quite the picture heavy post of what happens when buildings get left behind…
When it comes to my passion for photographing abandoned Americana, my love really is with places from the mid-20th century or older. However any place that is abandoned I’ll check out, even if it was abandoned just thirteen years ago, which is the case with Lake Dolores’ Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark off Interstate 15 in Newberry Springs.
Originally, the area around Lake Dolores was a private resort, but opened to the public in 1962. By 1998, it had new owners, and a massive remodel, which added the Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark with the most horrendous and gaudy “retro” theme, which ended up looking like a that 1980s vision throwback to the 1950s. You can check out a video of what it once looked like here, now it has been overrun by graffiti, and I was able to only locate one spot that featured the original “Rock-a-Hoola” text. The park closed in 2004.
Today, a hill looms high with nothing but oddly foreboding supports from the long disappeared waterslides over tag ridded buildings that continue to fade and decay in the hot Mojave sun.
I took loads of photos, so gear up for a pretty picture heavy post!
Before we left for Portland we went out for tiki drinks for a friend’s birthday at Tonga Hut in North Hollywood (they also have a location in Palm Springs, and both serve the Mojave Punch, which is my favorite off their menu). And for some reason I felt compelled to wear my Shag Planet of the Apes dress instead of a traditional tiki dress. Maybe it was because we were in North Hollywood…
While I am not the biggest fan of this cut of dress (I prefer a more fitted cut), I am madly in love with the print. Shag’s take on iconic moments in Planet of the Apes is so much fun. Are you a fan of Shag or Planet of the Apes?
As for Portland, I came home with a lot of great goodies, got to see some friends and family, which was absolutely wonderful.
After having lunch with Patrick I made my way over to the Palm Springs Air Museum, which I can honestly say is one of the best air museums I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to quite a few. My mom worked at one shortly after I was born, so I’ve always had a soft spot for air museums.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to many planes, with its main focus being on World War II, but also features planes from the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and the Cold War. These three will soon be getting their own portion of the museum, but now, the subject matter is a bit scattered. The planes are all very visible, and visitors can get up-close to the aircrafts. Many of the planes have amazing nose art as well!
While it is an air museum, they also feature other war related items, including two subjects I find fascinating; trench art from World War I and II, and POW and MIA bracelets from the Vietnam War.
For the POW/MIA bracelets, they had two binders that told the stories of the POW or MIA soldiers and, if the donor wished, their story of why they decided to get a bracelet. From what I read bracelet wearers were both people who supported the war, and those strongly opposed, which I found very interesting. The binders was fascinating, as it mentioned if the remains of the soldiers had yet to be recovered, and some remains were recovered as recently as 2013. These stories showcase that closure from wars can come decades later.
A really unique offering at the Palm Springs Air Museum is the ability to climb inside a real B-17 Bomber (or an additional $5.00 donation)! I leaped at the chance!
One of my personal favorite topics of World War II is the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP for short), and the museum had a wonderful collection of WASP items, including a complete uniform.
In 1943, WASP director, Jacqueline Cochran convinced General Hap Arnold that her women should have their own uniforms. Cochran, with fashion designers at Bergdorf Gorman in New York designed the uniforms, and fashion coordinators from Neman Marcos personally fitted each woman for her uniform. The color blue was very specific, and inspired by Cochran’s time in Santiago, and the specific dye formula was named “Santiago Blue”. A docent told me Cochran kept the formula under lock and key, and destroyed it when the WASP disbanded, so no one else could have the color and it would remain only for the women of the WASP.
Fifinella, as seen above, was the WASP mascot. She was conceived by author Roald Dahl for his story The Gremlins. Disney Animation created hundreds of mascots for the military, including this Fifinella, as they were planning on doing a cartoon adaptation of The Gremlins, but it never happened. If you’re interested in Disney Studio’s involvement in World War II, I highly recommend the book Disney During World War II: How the Walt Disney Studio Contributed to the Victory of the War by John Baxter (I keep meaning to do a review of this book, by the way). It is available on Amazon, and I have seen it in the Disney parks.
If you’re in Palm Springs, I highly recommend visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum. Active Military and their immediate families can get in for free, and retired Military with ID can enter at a discount. Additionally, if you purchase your ticket at Palm Springs’ Visitor Center you can buy it at a discount. To learn more about exhibits, hours, and admission, please visit Palm Springs Air Museum’s website.
That wraps up my Palm Springs posts! I hope you enjoyed!
Patrick and I just returned home from a week in Palm Springs, like we do every March, as Patrick has an annual work conference there. During this year’s visit I spent a lot time at museums, and finally visited several small museums that are all clustered together.
Located in the heart of Palm Springs is the Village Green, a small park that is home to not one, not two, not even three, but four small museums; the Cornelia White House, the McCallum Adobe, Ruddy’s General Store, and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
I’ll start with my favorite, the Cornelia White House. The building itself was originally built by Dr. and Mrs. Welwood Murray in 1893, and was built using railroad ties from a failed narrow-gauge line connecting the Southern Pacific depot with Palmdale. And was part of the couple’s Palm Springs Hotel. It was later purchased by Cornelia Butler White, and this woman was quite the character!
Cornelia White was born in 1874 in upstate New York, and one of eleven children. She loved to travel, and even traveled the Nile River in Egypt. She was also a professor, and from 1905 to 1912 taught domestic science at the University of North Dakota. Following her teaching stint, she moved to Mexico. One of Cornelia’s sisters, Florilla White, a doctor by trade, joined her, along with Carl Lykken, a mining engineer. However as revolutionary war broke out in Mexico, the trio had to flee. They escaped by operating a railroad handcar and traveled over 80 miles to the coast. Before joining her sister in Mexico, Florilla had spent time in Palm Springs at the hotel operated by Dr. Murray, and after escaping Mexico, Florilla suggested a move to Palm Springs. After arriving in Palm Springs in 1913, they bought the hotel Murray owned, and by 1915, another White sister, Isabel White, joined them. Isabel eventually married an author by the name of J. Smeaton Chase, while neither of the sisters, nor their friend Lykken, ever married.
Cornelia enjoyed riding, hiking, and even participating in cattle driving! And she always wore a leather jacket, riding breeches and boots. She is quoted as saying “But I do have dresses and petticoats, I want you to know. I keep them to wear to funerals. I’m afraid it just wouldn’t do to go in riding breeches and my fringed leather jacket – would it?”
By 1944, after Florilla’s death, Cornelia’s home was at risk of being demolished. It was saved though, and moved to another location. Cornelia lived there until 1959, and passed away in 1961. In 1979 the house was moved by flatbed truck to its current location at the Village Green. It is the second oldest standing building Palm Springs, and resides, fittingly, next to the McCallum Adobe, which is the oldest standing building in Palm Springs.
Needless to say it sounds like Cornelia is a woman after my own heart! Her home is a very unique treasure within Palm Springs. Some of the items inside the home belonged to Cornelia, while other pieces of the period were donated.
The Cornelia White House is open Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sundays noon to 3:00 pm. It is free to the public, but a $1.00 donation is suggested.
Next to the Cornelia White House is the McCallum Adobe, which as I mentioned above, is the oldest standing building in Palm Springs, and was built in 1885 by John and Emily McCallum, the area’s first white settlers, with the help of local Native Americans. It was originally built on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Way, where it was later part of the Oasis Hotel. It was moved to its current site in 1950.
Today the McCallum Adobe is a museum dedicated to the history of Palm Springs, from Native Americans to it becoming the sun-soaked playground of the stars. The McCallum Adobe Museum does not allow for photography, so sadly I cannot share any of its amazing artifacts with you. The McCallum Adobe keeps the same hours as the Cornelia White House. It is also free to visit, but a $1.00 donation is also suggested.
To the right of the McCallum Adobe is Ruddy’s General Store, which is really something, in that it is a complete fictional general store. It is made up entirely of one man’s collection of new-old stock merchandise from shops, and has items from the turn-of-the-century through the 1960s, but with its main focus on the 1930s and 40s.
Ruddy’s General Store costs 95 cents to take a turn about. It’s open during the months of September through May, Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
To the right of Ruddy’s General Store is the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
Like the McCullum Adobe, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum does not allow for photography. The museum offers insight into the Native Americans who first called the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley area home, and during my visit housed an incredible display on basketry.
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is free to visit, although you can make a donation if you wish. They also have a wonderful selection books about Native Americans, as well turquoise jewelry for purchase.
That wraps up the first of three Palm Springs posts! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!
Over the weekend Patrick and I visited Corriganville Park, the former location of Corriganville, a western backlot and amusement park of sorts from 1949 to 1965.
Corriganville was built by movie and TV actor Ray Bernard, but better known as Crash Corrigan. After going on a hunting trip in Simi Valley with fellow actor, Clark Gable, in 1935, Corrigan fell in love with the area. In 1937, Corrigan purchased over 1,000 acres of land, and built his home there. He eventually went on to build an entire western backlot, dubbed Silvertown, and many films and TV showers were filmed there, including Fort Apache, The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, How the West was Won, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, and more. In 1949 Corrigan decided to open his backlot to the public, and the area turned into an amusement park on weekends, while still being a fully functioning backlot during the week. Think of it like a blend of Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios.
He also allowed film crews to build their own sets, as long as they left them standing after filming, which is how the area got a “Corsican Village” after Howard Hughes’ 1950 film Vendetta.
After selling Corriganville in 1965 to Bob Hope, the area suffered two fires, one in 1971 and another in 1979, leaving almost nothing standing. Today, Corriganville is a park, and visitors can walk among the concrete foundations and visit what remains of a man-made lake that was originally used for the Jungle Jim series, but was used in for a variety of films, including Creature from the Black Lagoon and The African Queen, as it featured a camera house built under a bridge with thick glass windows, allowing for underwater filming.
Continue reading for images of the remains of Corriganville, postcards of what it looked like, and more!
Over the weekend some friends, Patrick, and myself went to the California Science Center as the museum was having an exhibit about the science behind Pixar animation. As lovers of all things Disney, we were excited to further understand what goes into making some of our favorite films. It also gave us a swell chance to Disneybound as characters from some of the Disney/Pixar films. With all of the western wear in my closet, I opted to bound as Woody.
The exhibit was really interesting, and gave me a greater appreciation for the films that Pixar has created. The museum is also the place to go for family friendly science exhibits, although we didn’t get to visit many of them, as we spent a good long while in the Pixar exhibit, followed by time gazing at the massive space shuttle Endeavour that the museum recently acquired. I look forward to a return visit to the California Science Center sometime in the future.
For those in the southern California area, or planning on visiting soon, the Science Behind Pixar exhibit goes through April 16th. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.
Vintage H Bar C Shirt: Junk for Joy, Burbank, California
String Tie: Joyride, Orange, California
Skirt: Rock Steady via Roadkill Ranch, Fullerton, Ca.
Boots: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Cowboy Boot Earrings: Gift
Tooled Leather Purse & Saddle Ring: I don’t remember…
Hat & Horseshoe Ring: Disneyland