The massive pueblo style building in Desert Hot Springs, California, took its creator Cabot Yerxa over 23 years to construct. The Indian Pueblo adorned with Kachina paintings has 35 rooms and 150 windows all created from scrap material Yerxa collected in the surrounding desert and then reassembled here. Yerxa, an artist, adventurer and traveler, began work on the pueblo in 1941. By then he had already lived a life full of adventure and intrigue. At the age of 15 he went north to Alaska in search of gold and made money by selling 20 cent cigars for $20 to the miners. He later introduced Cuban cigars to the American public at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.
Yerxa is often called the Father of Desert Hot Springs because of his discovery of a hot spring on Miracle Hill where he had hand dug a well for water. A second well provided the cold water he needed and later it was discovered he had dug the two wells on opposite sides of an earthquake fault.
Yerxa’s burro named Merry Christmas once saved his life during a sand storm in the desert by bring him back home safely after he became lost. Yerxa enlisted in the Army in 1918 and, by 1919 after World War I, he returned to the desert and began operating a store. In 1925 he went to Europe to study art for a year. When he returned to Moorpark in 1926 he operated a grocery store and was the postmaster until he returned to Desert Hot Springs in 1937. The ever inventive Yerxa has been credited with collecting rattlesnakes from the surrounding desert and setting them loose in the pueblo whenever he left town to discourage his neighbors from entering the property during his absence.
After his death in 1965 at age 82, the pueblo home fell into disrepair and was vandalized. Were it not for his good friend, Cole Euyrad who held a bulldozer at bay with a shotgun, the home would have been demolished. Realizing the important of the unique property, Euyrad purchased and restored it. Later the family donated the property to the City of Desert Hot Springs to be operated as a museum and art gallery.