The most exclusive club in the desert

Andreas Canyon Club founded in 1923

Rock House

Palm Springs, Calif. - In Palm Springs, the homes that came closest to the dangers of the Mountain Fire, are part of a very exclusive, and secretive club.

The Andreas Canyon Club was built to blend into the mountains next to the very popular Indian Canyons hiking trails. 

Club members don't want attention, but they got some when firefighters went up to scout out the Mountain Fire conditions and make sure anyone inside was notified about the firefighting efforts.

The Palm Springs Historical Society says the structures have been a little-known part of the valley for almost a century.

"In 1923 they formed a non-profit corporation and bought the land," Palm Springs Historical Society Director and Curator, Jeri Vogelsang said. "They own the land and built 22 cabins for individual members. The goal was to keep the pristine landscape as it was."

The club began as a group of nature lovers hiking and camping by Andreas Canyon Stream, where the homes still get their water from today. In fact, the structures and their surrounding areas remain largely unchanged from when they were built. They are off the grid.

"The homes are built of stone with a flat roof," Vogelsang said. "That's a part of the rules so they will blend in to the natural surroundings. That's, I think, why a lot of people aren't aware that they are there because they do blend beautifully into the hillside there."

The rock homes are never for sale. They are passed down generations, and it seems that no amount of influence can get you in to the club that might be the most exclusive in the desert.

"Walt Disney tried to buy in there at one point," Vogelsang said, citing a 1970's newspaper report on the history of the Andreas Canyon Club.  "He did have two homes in Smoke Tree Ranch here in Palm Springs. He probably looked up from there and thought, 'Hmm, that would be great,' but he was not approved and did not get to buy in Andreas Canyon Club.

"So yes, it doesn't matter who you are, or how much money you have."

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