Cabot Abram Yerxa spent 24 years building his impressive Hopi-style pueblo after discovering the original hot spring that gave Desert Hot Springs its name.
On his travels throughout the country, Cabot Yerxa became entranced by the architecture and the Kachina of the pueblo dwellers. When he built the sprawling structure he painted Kachinas on the exterior walls of his home.
Cabots Patch Dolls [faceless remix]
A set of 24 solar panels on the hillside behind the house provides electric power to the museum.
A later addition to the site is that of the Waokiye, or “traditional helper” in the Lakota language. Waokiye is the twenty-seventh sculpture in a series of 74 giant Native American heads, collectively known as the Trail of the Whispering Giants, carved during a twenty-one-year period by artist Peter Wolf Toth. The 43-foot sculpture was carved with the use of power tools from a section of a 45-ton giant sequoia log. The 750-year-old tree, which originally stood in Sequoia National Park, had been felled by lightning in the mid-1950s.
Yerxa discovered two separate aquifers, a natural hot spring with a temperature of 110 °F and a cold aquifer which continues to provide fresh water to the city of Desert Hot Springs and has received awards for its exceptional taste.
Yerxa opened “Cabot’s Old Indian Pueblo” in 1945. He operated it with his wife, Portia, until his death in 1965. Upon his death Portia returned to her native Texas and the structure was abandoned and used as a party space for local high school kids. Yerxa’s friend Cole Eyraud protected the settlement after his death and purchased the complex, restoring it and later donating it to the City of Desert Hot Springs.
The downstairs living room…
…which has dirt floors.
Yerxa’s very small sleeping area which was built on the bottom floor near the middle of the house in order to keep it cool.
He not only painted the Kachinas on the exterior walls but also also created art for the interiors as well.
Someone has to vacuum up all that dirt.
Skinny people only.
It has a system of vents and shafts built into the walls to keep it cool in the summer. The downstairs kitchen is much bigger and is also the site of where Yerxa died in 1965. The pueblo and all the outbuildings on the site were built primarily from scrap wood and sheet metal, all scavenged from the surrounding desert by Yerxa.
The original building was small and was eventually scrapped and re-used to build the current structure that stands today.
A bear that Yerxa killed while living in Alaska.
Vintage Pueblo Shot
Yerxa & his pueblo.
The town of DHS was founded by L. W. Coffee on July 12, 1941. L.W. Coffee’s legendary hot mineral water Bath House opened on July 2nd 1942 and was an instant hit attracting over 2000 people on its opening day. The City of Desert Hot Springs owns the museum which is operated by the Cabot’s Museum Foundation, a non-profit corporation.
Ka-Ka-Kachina. The Kachinas on the outside of the Pueblo were recently reproduced by a local school for troubled kids.