Palm Springs, Calif. -

Designed in a Gothic Revival style that was common in the 1920's and 30's, the Palm Springs Historical Society says there's nothing else quite like the Palm Springs Community Church anywhere in the city.

"This architecture is the only surviving example in Palm Springs of (this kind) of architecture," Kathy Leonard said. "Because we went toward modernism."

The church has been vacant since 2007. Wednesday morning, it sustained significant damage in a fire.

Leonard leads the Palm Springs Historical Society's Historical Walking Tours that stop at the church, which is near downtown, on the corner of Baristo Road and South Cahuilla Road. Leonard often sees people inside the church who don't belong.

"The transients all live ..." she said. "They come out when I'm doing tours because they live in there. It's sad."

The church once had much more stately visitors, including a United States President and first lady who worshiped there in a highly publicized visit to Palm Springs.

"President Eisenhower and Mamie worshiped here in 1954," Leonard said. 

Much of the damage from Wednesday's fire will be difficult to repair. It took fire crews 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

"There's quite a bit of damage to the central and Southern portion of the building," Palm Springs Fire Department Deputy Chief, Jim Webb said. "There's quite a bit on the north side that was saved and is in tact."

The community church is the latest in a string of vacant historic buildings to burn in Palm Springs. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"It's a very sad day for the city of Palm Springs," said Laura Ramstead, who manages the Del Marcos Hotel across the street from the church. "I really hope that in the long run the developers and preservationists - I'm a preservationist - come together and work this out. We can't afford to lose another historic building."