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Palm Springs

The Tramway Gas Station - Palm Springs

The Tramway Gas Station, constructed between 1963-65, was designed by Albert Frey & Robson C. Chambers

Called the Tramway Gas Station, this space-age style and breathtaking mid-century modern icon of Palm Springs architecture, is now the home of the Palm Springs Visitors Center. The kite-shaped roof (metal roof shaped like a kite) hyperbolic is set against gorgeous mountains and blue skies and proudly welcomes thousands of visitors as the awe-inspiring entrance to the City of Palm Springs.

Nicknamed the Tramway Gas Station (currently the City´s official Visitor`s Center for Palm Springs Tourism) was formerly home to an Enco gas station. The gas station was often referred to as the Tramway Gas Station because of its location at the foot of Tramway Road, the long road leading to the entrance for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The building has a distinctive, cantilevered, kite or wedge-shaped canopy (called a hyperbolic paraboloid according to the historic marker plaque on the building itself) was constructed in 1965 and was designed by architects Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers. It is considered to be a prime example of modernism in architecture.

The original gas station closed its doors in the mid 1990s and was in disrepair until it was purchased and beautifully restored in 2000 by artist Montana St. Martins and Clayton Carlson, a retired publishing executive and San Francisco residents. The couple purchased the property for use as a high-end art and sculpture gallery and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to breathe life into the iconic building. The economy didn´t agree with the ambitious plans of St Martins and Carlson, and the bank purchased the property. A few years later the by the City of Palm Springs purchased and re-purposed the structure and is now the Palm Springs Visitor´s Center, open to the public year round, no charge.