Manufacturer: Scammell China
User: Desert Inn – Palm Springs, California
Date of examples: circa 1926 – 1936
Notes: From a June 4, 2014, article by Nicolette Wenzell in Palm Springs Life: "The Desert Inn was Nellie Coffman's vision in 1909. In the beginning, The Desert Inn was made up of small wood-framed buildings covered in fabric called 'tent houses.' In those days, it encompassed only 75 feet of Main Street (now Palm Canyon Drive) and went only 290 feet west toward the mountain.
"It began as a sanatorium where Nellie's husband, Harry Coffman, served as the physician. Eventually Nellie and Harry went separate ways and Nellie's vision of The Desert Inn as an elite resort began to take shape.
"It was not long before visitors were making their way to Palm Springs and noteworthy individuals were taking notice of Nellie's inn. In the 1920's, Nellie replaced her humble wood-framed structures with Spanish Mediterranean style buildings. The Inn's presence could not help but shape Palm Springs and in 1938, when the city incorporated, the center of town was changed from Amado Road to Tahquitz, where The Desert Inn was located.
"The Inn subsequently enjoyed decades of success with Nellie at the helm. After Nellie's death in 1950, sons George Roberson and Earl Coffman, who had continuously assisted Nellie in the operation of the Inn, sold it in 1955 to actress Marion Davies, perhaps most memorably known as William Randolph Hearst's mistress.
"Davies had hopeful dreams for the Inn but as her health was failing, her plans did not come to fruition. In 1960, Davies sold the property to developers Samuel Firks and George Alexander. The purchase price was $2.5 million and at the time was one of the largest single transactions to ever take place in Palm Springs.
"At the time, Alexander said, 'There will always be a Desert Inn on this property. Perhaps not the current establishment, but always a Desert Inn. The name has come to symbolize the ultimate in resort living.'"
"After his death, Home Savings and Loan Association took over the property and built an expansive multi-million dollar shopping mall called The Desert Inn Fashion Plaza. The black and white photograph above was taken in June of 1966 just before demolition began on the original structures of The Desert Inn."
Larry Paul described the china as follows: "This tan and dark blue design had hand-painted rust red work in the space between the rim and center-of-the-well decals. … This pattern was Scott Scammell's favorite."
Please note that if you look closely at several of the dining room postcards above, you can see Aztec china on the tables.
Palm Springs Life – article by Nicolette Wenzell – June 4, 2014
For additional info:
Aztec by Scammell China
Plate photos: Susan Phillips
Pedestal bowl photos: Gary Olson
Postcard: Larry Paul
Author: Ed Phillips