Beyond the ‘Elvis Hideaway’ - Page 2

Overlooked video documentary explores the true legacy of the ‘House of Tomorrow’

 

Fridays on the Homefront
The recent rehabilitation of the home was quite extensive, as above.

Along with its fashionable occupants, the one‐of‐a‐kind House of Tomorrow was jettisoned to stardom after being featured in a snazzy spread in a 1962 issue of Look magazine. Bob and Helene were spotlighted among the 'New Californians' living a 'Way‐Out Way of Life.' Everything seemed golden.

But three years later, tragedy struck. The Alexanders, along with Bob's parents, died in a private plane that crashed over the San Jacinto Mountains during a thunderstorm.

"When the Alexanders died…everything stopped," explains author/journalist David Lansing in the film. "They had so many plans, and so many other projects, and those all came to a complete halt."

 

  Fridays on the Homefront
Architectural historian Chris Menrad (above) on the House of Tomorrow: "You always see patterns in Krisel's work…but nothing really like this."
 

Lansing adds… "Not only did Jill Alexander become an orphan, but the house became an orphan as well. Jill's great‐uncle didn't know what to do with the house, so he started renting it out."

As the story goes, the great‐uncle was an acquaintance of Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who felt that Elvis needed a break from Las Vegas. Elvis only visited the Palm Springs house once or twice, and then in 1967, he and wife Priscilla honeymooned there. But after the couple was discovered by the press, they were forced to head back to Vegas. The legend and trail behind their 'honeymoon hideaway' didn't end there.

The house soon was sold to a man from Boston who turned it into a sort of Elvis museum and tour stop. Neighbors filed lawsuits, seeking an end to all the traffic. Over the next 30 years, the House of Tomorrow went through a series of owners while continuing to deteriorate.

 

  Fridays on the Homefront
Today, the House of Tomorrow is a Palm Springs designated 'Class 1 Historic Site.'
 

Today, the home finally seems at peace, especially after its return to respectability following rehabilitation and restoration, and continues to be one of the most photographed houses anywhere.

The House of Tomorrow is always "on everybody's [Palm Springs touring] drive," says Menrad, as it "sits up on a prow…very much on display."

'Back to the House of Tomorrow' is currently available for streaming on Vimeo.

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