This magnificent pueblo-style 5,000 square-foot building with 35 rooms, 150 windows and 65 doors was built almost single-handed by Cabot Yerxa who was 56 years old when he began it in 1941. Having no money, he combed the desert for found materials the sizes of which determined the size of each additional room. With no engineering or architectural training, he created this eccentric masterpiece that is now in the National Register of Historic Places and operated as a museum in partnership with the City of Desert Hot Springs. The museum houses hundreds of artifacts that Yerxa collected during his extraordinary life, starting in 1913 at age 15 when he took off for the Alaska Gold Rush, later started a business in Cuba, attended art school in Paris and served as an aide to Dwight D. Eisenhower when Eisenhower was a mid-level officer in World War I, leading to the formal invitation to Eisenhower's inauguration as President, on display at the Museum. Only in fiction have I heard of a life so varied, accomplished and self-driven. And so this Museum is not only an amazing and beautiful thing in its own right, but also the record of an extraordinary life. And do take the guided tour - the guides are excellent and the history you'll learn will inspire and awe you. Guaranteed!!!
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