February 25, 2022

Photo Essay: Temple Isaiah, Where A Modernist Chapel Is Hidden Underneath a Giant, Brutalist Boat

Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs, California isn't just one temple—but two. 

And it's not just a synagogue—but also a Jewish Community Center, performing arts center, concert hall, and screening room for the Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival. 

February 22, 2022

Photo Essay: A Hot Time at the Date Orchard, Where Sex and God Collide

When I first started spending time in the Palm Springs area in 2009, I took a tour of Oasis Date Gardens—and I thought that was enough. 

I didn't realize how absolutely baffling and curious the nearby Shields Date Garden was. 

February 21, 2022

Photo Essay: Caddy Cars, Grocery Getters, and Marketeers at A Museum of Vintage Golf Carts

I'm almost always up for visiting any kind of car museum—and in Palm Springs last week, that meant making a stop to the National Museum of Golf Cars. 


February 12, 2022

Photo Essay: A Former YMCA in Pomona, California Is Getting Ready to Rise Once Again, Ahead of Its 100th Birthday (Updated for 2023)

[Last updated 11/7/23 10:06 AM PT—changed name of the new development and added link to in-progress photos.]

In 2018, I had the opportunity to explore the historic YMCA building in Pomona, California, as renovation efforts had begun to convert it into an 80,000-square-foot mixed-use space called The Village Pomona The Union on Garey. 

Postcard image: Springfield College Archives and Special Collections, Cliff Smith YMCA Postcard Collection [CC BY-NC-SA]

Four years later, the project still isn't complete—even though it was projected to open in early 2019

So, instead of waiting to do a "before and after" photo essay, I thought it was time I finally shared the "before" look. 

February 05, 2022

Photo Essay: Exploring A Little-Known Inland Stretch of the Second Transcontinental Railroad (In a Locomotive Cab)

In the 1880s, Southern Pacific Railroad led the charge in creating the nation's Second Transcontinental Railroad line—the first having been completed between the San Francisco Bay and Omaha, Nebraska in 1869, with the ceremonial "Golden Spike" (or "Last Spike") being driven at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.

The second one was considered the "southern" one. 

By 1881, it had connected Atchison, Kansas to Los Angeles, California. And by 1883, it had connected Los Angeles to New Orleans. 

Last month, I had the chance to visit a little-known section of the second TCR—and see it from a perspective most passengers never get to experience—in the Inland Empire city of Perris, California.