National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program
Weekly Highlight: Cabot's Old Indian Pueblo Museum
Riverside County, California

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


[photo] of highlighted property

In 1941, 60-year old Cabot Abram Yerxa, born in the Dakota Territory on the Lakota Sioux Reservation and one-time interpreter for the Inupiak Native Americans in Nome, Alaska, began his greatest achievement, building Cabot’s Old Indian Museum. An artist and Native American advocate, he built his rambling four-story structure, patterned after those built by the Hopi Indians of the Southwest. Designed and built without the use of any formal architectural documents, the finalized museum and the guest house (“Nellie’s House”) borrowed much from the multi-tier, baked-clay dwellings of the historic Pueblos.
Completed and opened to the public as a Trading Post, Museum/Art gallery and personal residence in 1944, it was a noted feature of the town of Desert Hot Springs, California. In 1945 Cabot married Portia Graham (1884-1969), a lecturer and teacher of metaphysics and Theosophy at a school she founded in Morongo Valley, and for the next 20 years artists, tourists and people interested in metaphysical philosophy came through Cabot’s Old Indian Museum. Cabot himself would lecture on Native American culture. After his death in 1965, Cabot’s Old Indian Pueblo Museum was left vacant for four years until it was purchased by Cole Eyraud, a member of the Desert Hot Springs Council. After Eyraud’s death, the family deeded the property to the city, who are now the current owners of the museum and shop.

Read the full file on the Cabot's Old Indian Pueblo Museum.

To see more photographs of National Register properties go to our photostream on Flickr.

See our Weekly List (with previous highlights)