Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cabot's Pueblo Museum, 3/04/2016

Cabot Yerxa (1884-1965) was a homesteader in 1913 on 160 acres in the area that would become the town of Desert Hot Springs, CA. Before settling in the desert, he was a veteran of the Alaska Gold Rush (1898) and traveled extensively to Mexico, Cuba, and Europe. He dug a well on his land and discovered an extensive underground hot spring. The second well he dug was pure cold water of the Mission Springs Aquifer. 

Cabot began construction on this pueblo-style home in 1941 and continued to work on it until his death. It is a Hopi-inspired structure that Cabot created from reclaimed and found materials. The inspiration for the pueblo for Cabot was a replica of a Southwestern Indian Pueblo he saw at the Chicago World's Fair. 

There is small museum area that is free, but a guided tour of the pueblo is offered for a fee of $11/seniors, $13/adults, Tuesday-Sunday at 5 designated times. We opted for the tour and began our visit at the impressive Trading Post and Art Gallery where tour tickets can purchased. Be sure to spend some time enjoying the eclectic collection of pottery...

As well as paintings jewelry, unique works of art, and books.

The pueblo has 4 stories, is 5,000 square feet, 35 rooms, 150 windows, and 65 doors. Cabot made the adobe-style and sun dried brick himself, adding a cup of cement to each. Lovely gardens surround the pueblos. 

The tour lasts about an hour and our guide provided interesting insights into the fascinating life of Cabot. His eccentric personality and thrifty approach to building the pueblo is evident in each room of the interior. Photos, however, are not permitted inside.  

Cabot painted large Kachina dolls on the exterior of the pueblo beginning in 1954. Because the paintings have not survived the desert climate, local artists recreated the paintings in 2008.

After the tour of the pueblo, we made the short walk to the lovely Upper Courtyard to see some of the structures Cabot built on the property (ramada and tool shed are pictured below). Surrounding gardens showcase various native plants.

Along the way is the Eagle's Nest Tile Bench created for the museum by the Desert Hot Springs High School Ceramics Class of 2008. Very cool.

The ancient rock in the Upper Courtyard exemplifies Cabot's quirky personality. 

A short distance from the courtyard is a monument created by Peter "Wolf" Toth. Named Waokiye, or "Traditional Helper," it is the 27th in his series of 70 monuments in his series "The Trail of the Whispering Gods" honoring all Native Americans. It was dedicated in 1978.

The feather is carved from Incense Cedar and is 15' tall and 4' thick. The bottom portion was made from a single, 750-year-old, Sequoia redwood log that weighs 20 tons and is 27' high.  So impressive!

For additional information about this local attraction in Desert Hot Springs, check out their website,

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