Newsletters

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

In 1886, when Cabot Yerxa was 3 years old, his parents, Fred and Nellie, moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from the Dakota Territory (the Dakotas were not admitted to the Union until 1889). Fred Yerxa joined two older brothers in opening and operating grocery stores for some 15 years after that. Ads and newspaper articles around the turn of the century ...

Read more

Leaving Space to Believe

Leaving Space to Believe

Given his connection to nature and his extensive exposure to other cultures, including time living among Native Americans in Alaska and the desert, it’s no surprise that Cabot Yerxa developed an open mind about spirituality and “alternate” systems of belief. He explored automatic writing (a method of “turning off” the conscious mind while the hand writes) and was a follower ...

Read more

When Harry Met the Desert

When Harry Met the Desert

In last week’s newsletter, we recounted some of Bob Forester’s memories of spending time, as a young boy, with Cabot Yerxa. What we held back for this week was his recollection that Cabot sometimes read to him from a monthly publication by another self-proclaimed desert rat. Harry Oliver was an Oscar-nominated art director in Hollywood, architect of everything from an ...

Read more

Past Matters

Past Matters

While much of what we know about Cabot Yerxa comes from his own writings and newspaper/magazine articles, we also are fortunate to have reminiscences from people who knew him. Members of the pueblo museum’s history committee spent years conducting research, including interviews and correspondence, to formulate a more comprehensive profile of Cabot. One of their contacts was Bob Forester, who ...

Read more

Sleeping With a Happy Heart

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 ...

Read more

Cabot’s Remarkable Feat

Cabot’s Remarkable Feat

In a circa-1950 photograph, Cabot Yerxa sits on a bench just outside one of his adobe’s many doors. Looking at the desert tortoise in his hands, he appears contemplative. We can’t know what he is thinking at the captured moment in time. But the sign posted on the wall by the door reveals his overall mindset. It reads as follows: ...

Read more

From a Sage’s Pages

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 ...

Read more

Love is in the Air

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 ...

Read more

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 ...

Read more

Perceptions of Precipitation

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 ...

Read more