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Neighborhood Spotlight: Racquet Club Estates in Palm Springs

Written by Ellen Paris on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 at 12:37pm.

Photos and map courtesy of Racquet Club Estates Neighborhood Organization

The History of Racquet Club Estates

The crown jewel of Palm Springs in its glory days was The Racquet Club. Built in 1934 by actors Charlie Farrell and Ralph Bellamy, it was a resort where A-list Hollywood celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Marilyn Monroe came to play tennis, socialize poolside while enjoying the privacy Palm Springs offered in a glamorous low-key setting. While The Racquet Club is history, you can find that vibe today, minus the celebs, in the surrounding Racquet Club Estates neighborhood.

Racquet Club Estates is an in-demand, Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs neighborhood, with a tight-knit community of owners - the Racquet Club Estates Neighborhood Organization (RCENO) - who are dedicated to preserving its architectural integrity. Explore the pristine residential stylings that defined the Palm Springs landscape in the early 60’s, returning it to its uber-cool modernism status today.

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The Architecture

Originally built as second or vacation homes on expansive lots (some as large as 10,000 square feet), the homes at Racquet Club Estates were defined by the ease of indoor-outdoor living. Interior and exterior spaces flow seamlessly into one another, creating the perfect spot to linger from morning coffee to cocktail time. And as much of Racquet Club Estates’ outdoor space is dedicated to poolside entertaining, you can practically visualize a pitcher of margaritas chilling as the desert sun slips behind Mount San Jacinto.

“One of the most important things about Racquet Club Estates, is that it was the very first mass produced housing track in Palm Springs. They way the homes were placed on the lots is what made them look different,” explains Renee Brown, director of education and associate curator of the Palm Springs Historic Society.

Iconic Mid-Century architect William Krisel designed most of Racquet Club Estates’ 550 homes, built by The Alexander Construction Company between 1959 and 1962. Drought tolerant desert landscaping which many homeowners now favor is the perfect backdrop for the butterfly and flat rooflines and walls of glass all incorporated into a minimalist design. Sky view clearstory windows and exterior decorative concrete block walls contributed to a lifestyle and design statement which has gained international recognition among the ever-increasing fans of Palm Springs Modernism.

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In addition to the Alexander homes, there are also homes in Racquet Club Estates built by Jack and Bernie Meiselman. The Meiselmans favored Post and Beam construction with tongue and groove ceilings. Meiselman designs share many of the same architectural elements as the Alexanders including butterfly rooflines and open and airy interiors.

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The Racquet Club Estates Vibe

Located minutes from Palm Canyon Drive, with its retro Tiki bars and rat-pack inspired restaurants, Racquet Club Estates is a community where neighbors socialize and watch out for one another. Next time in Palm Springs explore Racquet Club Estates palm tree-lined streets. You’ll find it bordered by San Rafael, Caballeros, Vista Chino and Indian Canyon. The Racquet Club Estates neighborhood association fosters a strong sense of community. Locals and visitors alike buy T-shirts with the Racquet Club name and logo through the neighborhood’s website. Buying and restoring these residential treasures with their architectural integrity (ranging in size from around 1700 to over 2000 square feet) is considered a privilege among dedicated modernists.

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Racquet Club Estates Homes for Sale

The living is easy at Racquet Club Estates so when homes come on the market they typically sell quickly. Recently homes have sold from $500,000 to $800,000. Whether a Krisel, an Alexander or a Meiselman, you can find your Mid-Century Modern dream home by Searching With Style - view all Racquet Club Estates homes for sale and use this handy Racquet Club Estates map from RCENO to locate what street might house your specific MCM style.

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More Information

Check out these links to Palm Springs Modernism and historical groups devoted to the preservation of Palm Springs homes and landmarks:

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