Back in 1927, the same year he received the Motion Picture Academy’s first “Best Picture” award for the World War I-centered film “Wings,” producer Lucien Hubbard and his son-in-law, Charles Bender, purchased 240 acres of land in the Coachella Valley upon which they would build an exclusive Western-themed resort. Invitation-only for its first decade, the B-Bar-H Ranch (the name was derived from its founders’ initials) enjoyed a period of great popularity amongst Hollywood’s A-list. Filled with such famous names as Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and the Marx Brothers, the ranch’s guest log could have doubled as an autograph book.
Unsurprisingly, however, the notion of a rustic dude-ranch getaway only had so much appeal with the showbiz set, and in 1937, the resort was opened to the public. One ad for the property promised, “At B-BAR-H you’ll trade a Cad or a Jag for a nag, swap high-glaring neon for low-hanging stars, swim in natural warm mineral water, enjoy the finest cuisine, sample the ultimate mixologist’s art if you wish, and sleep luxuriously in spacious cottages set in an oasis of tamarisk and palms.”
But eventually, even the common folk would desert Desert Hot Springs in favor of hip-and-happening Palm Springs. The B-Bar-H closed down in 1950, and its land was subsequently divided and subdivided. While contemporary housing developments now cover much of the ranch’s original acreage, some vestiges of the vintage resort still exist, including this quaint hacienda now on the market. Built in 1945, the Spanish-style home was one of the B-Bar-H’s eight guest cottages.
The 1,679-square-foot bungalow features a shotgun or railroad-style layout with four entrances. Living room, dining room and kitchen are clustered in its east end, with the remaining portion of the house taken up by three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Period details include two kiva-style fireplaces with stone chimneys, beamed ceilings, Saltillo tile floors, French doors, clerestory windows, arched doorways and carved plaster niches, while updates include new electric and plumbing systems.
Along with a steel “cowboy” pool, fire pit, and raised dining patio, the well-landscaped grounds contain grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, and olive trees, a carport, and a storage shed. Listed with Mike Z. Haque of eXp Realty of California, the property is asking $599,000.