As noted in recent newsletters, two gentlemen from Southern California cities trusted enough in the future of Desert Hot Springs to invest time and money in developing its raw land as early as the 1930s. One was developer L.W. Coffee, who came from Los Angeles and opened a bathhouse/resort. The other was Aubrey Wardman, a successful businessman in Whittier whom Coffee convinced to advance money for the subdivision of 160 acres into a residential community. We could not revisit Desert Hot Springs’ history without honoring Aubrey Wardman, as we did L.W. Coffee. Of note, in aiding our understanding of the man who became a believer without moving here, is a letter he wrote to Cabot in 1944.
I have just finished reading the article in the Desert Sentinel, which was copied from the feature section of the New York Journal-American, and I must say that it made me feel how nice it would be to chuck all of my everyday business worries and go up to the desert and live in the sensible way which you brought out so very forcefully in your article.
Then I got to wondering about the statement you made to me some time ago that you would be happy when you could use the designation Desert Hot Springs instead of Garnet. And then I got to wondering what you might say about such a change in your desert.
I will admit it is hard for me to analyze just what your feelings might be when, for instance, you are now seeing fifty-foot lots selling for $2,500, which Mr. Coffee has already refused across from the Dodds’ place, which formerly could be bought for perhaps $50 per acre.
What about the roads to be oiled shortly, thus creating paved roads from the heart of Los Angeles? What about the modern bath with an attendant and the plunge compared to the way the desert rat took care of his bath a few years ago? What about the automobile and headlights at night which no doubt can be dimly seen from your place? What thoughts do you have when you think of the encroachment, so to speak, of your front yard by a thickly built city, with the possible thought that you may have to take your rattlesnakes, etc., farther back for peace and comfort, while on the other hand you see the joy of these people in getting away from the congested city and smoke and noise. You see people in ill health recovering from the use of the clear desert air and medical water.
You are probably happy with your former desert neighbors who are now reaping considerable profit from the incoming population, and still you probably feel that they are losing something in the nature of peace and quiet such as you mentioned in your article. At this point, my mind runs into a blank wall and will leave the matter in your hands and see what comes of it.
I was very happy in having the opportunity to advise with Mr. Dick Morris of Whittier, an old-time friend of mine, in reference to the purchase of Two Bunch Palms by your good self and can frankly say that I could honestly recommend Mr. Morris to purchase the painting. And I might say further that his family and his wife are very happy with it, and I have already had the pleasure of seeing it hung in the front room of his home in Whittier.
In 1957, Cabot heralded Desert Hot Springs’ spring wild flower show and noted that, in conjunction with what he anticipated would be an annual event, April 6 would be known as Aubrey Wardman Day.
The desert will witness a big parade going up Palm Drive, to the Veterans Hall on 8th Street, to officially open the Wild Flower Show. This will be the largest parade ever seen in Desert Hot Springs. Several bands are expected, a large drill team, very many floats, mounted posses, camels, mounted horseback riders, marching soldiers, and village Boy Scouts, Brownies, and Cub Scouts. At noon, there will be a luncheon at Addington’s to honor Aubrey Wardman. This will be attended by all the “old-timers.” The early residents of this village wish to show their love, friendship, and appreciation for Aubrey Wardman, because over the years he has done so very many public-spirited things to advance the prosperity of DHS, to safeguard its future, and to make this a happy place to live.
The name of Aubrey Wardman will always be remembered in Desert Hot Springs with sincere friendship, admiration, and respect because it is largely by his vision and active interest that this village has become possible.
It is important to believe in and invest in oneself. But we also need to cast our energies afield and show our belief in other people, places, organizations, and causes. There’s no guarantee we’ll get a day named for us, like Aubrey Wardman did. However, our investment of time and/or money may hold greater value for the recipient than we realize.