While Palm Springs is extremely well known for its mid-century modern architecture, it should be just as well known for its stunning Spanish revival architecture. No where was this better executed than the spectacular El Mirador Hotel, which operated from 1928 to 1972. El Mirador is a perfect example of Palm Springs’ glorious Spanish styling and the city’s innovative repurposing to save its history.
So, sometimes I do crazy things. Like drive two hours to go to a restaurant. Yep. When reading Charles Phoenix’s book, Addicted to Americana, he talks about the chain of coffee shops known as Sambo’s. Now, Sambo’s wasn’t totally unknown to me prior to reading the book, as there was one in my home town of Eugene, but it is long since gone, and well, I thought they all were. That is until I read that just one remains, and it happens to be the very first one, located in Santa Barbara. So how does a restaurant that started in 1957 and grew to have over 1,000 locations across the United States only have one today? Well, the funny thing is, this story begins all the way back in 1898 with a Scottish woman who lived in India for 30 years.
Recently I was at an antique mall I spied a vintage Ouija board with the price tag of “FREE!” which I simply couldn’t pass up, despite owning multiple already. As I walked out with it, I heard one of the employees say “Don’t use it now!” Over the years I have heard and read a constant stream of negative attitudes toward spirit boards; how they are evil, used by Satanists, and those who use them risk becoming possessed. But what so few really know is the history behind spirit boards. Communicating with the dead through séances became immensely popular in America during the middle part of the 19th century and everyone from First Ladies to average middle class Americans was doing it, swept up in the wave of the American Spiritualism Movement. However today séances and the sometimes accompanying Ouija board are looked upon with fear and condemned by many. So just how did that happen?