Sleeping With a Happy Heart

March 5, marked 56 years from Cabot Yerxa’s death at the age of 81 from a heart attack due to arteriosclerotic heart disease. An obituary newspaper article in 1965 reported that more than 400 people attended a funeral service — conducted by Desert Hot Springs’ American Legion post and Masonic Club — at Eighth Street Community Center. Cabot’s cremated remains …

From a Sage’s Pages

With our post-Valentine’s-Day brains still processing thoughts of hearts, we step back even further in time to newlywed advice from L.H. Winkley to Cabot Yerxa’s maternal grandparents, Charles and Frances Cabot. The clergyman clearly was a family friend and likely presided over the 1854 wedding, as he did 28 years later for the couple’s daughter Nellie (Cabot’s mother) to Fred …

Love is in the Air

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, we highlight the bond that made Cabot and Portia the perfect couple to find bliss in a work-in-progress home surrounded by raw desert land. The following excerpts come from an article in a July 1964 issue of The Desert Sun profiling the lady of the house on Miracle Hill, who described meeting Cabot. Portia …

Press and Presence

BSM, Before Social Media, people got their news from printed paper. They stepped outside, perhaps with morning coffee in hand, to pick up the daily newspaper tossed onto their porch or driveway. Even without platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Cabot Yerxa managed to attract the kind of publicity rarely available to a noncelebrity. When he opened his pueblo to …

Perceptions of Precipitation

On the heels of this week’s winter rains, we look back to Cabot Yerxa’s impressions of days when clouds slipped past the protection of local mountains and watered the typically arid landscape. The following excerpts, dating back to 1954, come from the museum’s book titled On the Desert Since 1913. Yesterday it rained for the first time in nine or …

Points of Departure

Cabot Yerxa typically ended his written communications “Adios.” His use of the Spanish word conveys not only his appreciation for other cultures, but also seems jauntier than “Farewell.” After his second viewing of the 1931 movie Trader Horn (about an African adventurer who “at the end says ‘goodbye’ to comrades”), Cabot collected his memories of partings. “When I pick up …

Snow and Slow

In last week’s newsletter, we published excerpts from Hearst Newspapers syndicated columnist Louis Sobol’s “New York Cavalcade” column, which was primarily devoted to Broadway show business news and gossip but also included communications he had with Cabot Yerxa on life in the desert. The following comes from Sobol’s “American Cavacade,” published in the February 13, 1939, edition of San Francisco …

Starting Lines

Although Cabot Yerxa wed his second wife on August 8, 1945, the occasion was announced nationally in the January 2, 1946, edition of New York Journal-American. For two or three years, Cabot wrote a monthly letter to Hearst Newspapers columnist Louis Sobol about life in the desert. Sobol often used them in his “New York Cavalcade” column, which otherwise was …

No Place Like Nome

Last week’s excerpts from the museum foundation’s new publication — 1900 Gold Rush to Nome, Alaska: Cabot Yerxa’s Coming of Age Memoir — established Cabot Yerxa’s experience with winter in Alaska. This week, we look at how the desert pioneer called upon his entrepreneurial spirit to make money in a frontier filled with “bad men and desperados,” as well as …