Field Notes on the Joshua Tree Retreat Center’s Historical Designation

Sunday, March 5, 2023, 3:00 PM
59700 Twentynine Palms Highway – Joshua Tree, CA Tickets: $20

Courtesy of Joshua Tree Retreat Center

The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is offering a lecture explaining why this important site was selected by the National Register of Historic Places. The event will be led by architectural historian, Daniel Paul. Paul will share a presentation on the successful National Register of Historic Places landmark application he authored for the Institute of Mentalphysics/ Joshua Tree Retreat Center. This exciting lecture includes insight into the property, its history and design, as well as a brief overview of Ding Le Mei, the Founder of Mentalphysics. A multitude of historic and present-day images accompany the lecture.

About Daniel Paul:

Architectural Historian Daniel Paul has over 25 years of experience in the historic preservation field. His successfully listed local, state, and federal landmark applications include the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, the entirety of Griffith Park, the Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village folk art environment, and early US Border Inspection Stations in Vermont. Local projects have included National Register of Historic Places landmark applications for the Integratron, Pioneertown’s Mane Street, and the Institute of Mentalphysics. Daniel is an expert in recent past architecture, having authored analyses and lectured widely upon Late-Modern architecture of the 1970s and early 1980s, and he holds a master’s degree in Art History from the California State University, Northridge.

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About Mentalphysics:

Founded in 1927 by British journalist and cartographer Edwin John Dingle, the “Science of Mentalphysics” integrated Eastern and New Thought breathing techniques, mediation, diet, and right-thinking practices. In 1941, Dingle, by then known as “Ding Le Mei” and intending to build an actual town, consecrated the New City of Mentalphysics property, which quickly became a teaching, retreat, and convention site for Mentalphysics practitioners. For its buildings, among various Modern architects, Dingle hired Lloyd Wright the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the property features the largest collection of Lloyd’s works in his oeuvre. A mystery to many who pass the Joshua Tree property, Mentalphysics was one of many unorthodox spiritual and teaching disciplines borne from Southern California. According to a 1972 Los Angeles Times obituary for Dingle, Mentalphysics students numbered over 214,000.

Purchase tickets at historical-designation-tickets-545424889527?


Location: Sanctuary Building
Suggested donation $20

To make a donation, visit:
Donations will also be accepted on-site.
Reservations are NOT required.

“Edwin + Lloyd” is the story of Mentalphysics founder Edwin John Dingle and mid-century architect Lloyd Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.) who built much of the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The exhibit, curated by design specialist Katie Nartonis, tells the behind-the-scenes story of Dingle, Wright and the Retreat Center’s conception.

The “Edwin + Lloyd” exhibit was made possible with the support of the DEW Foundation. Proceeds from the exhibit will help fund restoration projects throughout the Joshua Tree Retreat Center campus, helping to preserve the Lloyd Wright buildings on this recently historically designated site.

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