Places of Worship

Mid-century/desert modern buildings

The desert can be a spiritual place. For modernist architects William F. Cody, E. Stewart Williams, Albert Frey, and others, each borrowed from their surroundings to create unique and inspiring mid-century places of worship, be it from personal inspiration or the materials they used for construction.

Corresponding photos are above… just click on addresses below for Google Map locations.

St. Theresa’s Catholic Church (2800 E. Ramon Road) – A member of the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church congregation himself, in 1968 William F. Cody used granite, concrete, clerestory windows and a soaring spire to help create a unique spiritual desert sanctuary. He also designed part of the adjoining school.

Temple Isaiah (332 W. Alejo Road) – E. Stewart Williams designed the original Lieberman sanctuary and Jewish Community Center, circa 1949, which was definitely ahead of its time. In the 1980s, with the help of part time resident and fundraiser Frank Sinatra, the facilities were expanded to make room for the Coachella Valley’s growing Jewish population.

First Church of Christ Scientist (605 S. Riverside Drive) – This non-traditional structure blends into, and becomes one with, its environment, which was likely Albert Frey’s intention when incorporating desert hued concrete blocks into his 1956 design. It’s so well integrated with its surroundings, in fact, that you might easily drive past without knowing it was there (we did!). This site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are more modernist churches and temples we’ll be adding so please check back. For now you can also visit the Church of Christ (1450 N Avenida Caballeros) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1400 N Avenida Caballeros) in Palm Springs, as well as the Community Presbyterian Church (38088 Chuperosa Lane) and the St. Louis Catholic Church (8633 C St.) in nearby Cathedral City … all nice examples of modernist inspiration. See photos above.

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