Hiram Hudson Benedict (1901-1984)
Hiram Hudson Benedict reportedly grew up in Riverside, did not attend college, and worked as an architectural draftsman in Los Angeles by 1920. Circa 1922, he is known to have worked briefly for architect George Washington Smith in Santa Barbara. By 1935 Benedict had moved to Palm Springs where he worked for Gene Verge as an architectural draftsman, before launching the partnerships of Brewster & Benedict and Finlayson & Benedict. He left Palm Springs for a single-year (1939-1940) stint in Phoenix. Returning to Palm Springs in 1940, Benedict opened an office in the McManus building at 315 North Palm Canyon Drive.
During World War II, Benedict served the US Navy as an architect. In 1946, he returned briefly to Palm Springs and established an office for the Seattle firm of Bain, Overturf, Turner and Associates. After a few years, he returned to Phoenix.
After acquiring a site on Camelback Mountain in the early 1950s, a group of prominent investors (including Hollywood stars John Ireland, Joanne Dru and Sydney Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin's son) hired architect Hiram Hudson Benedict to design a clubhouse and a prototype casita. Benedict and Ireland developed the clubhouse, five tennis courts and a prototype casita that became John Ireland's Arizona home. The project was known as the Paradise Valley Racquet Club throughout the 1950s and is now named Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.
Hiram had a string of eight marriages. He married Margaret, his first wife, and divorced her in 1936. Hiram was married to his 3rd wife, Lucile, between 1951-1954 – she died that same year. Later that year, he married Capi – who also died within the calendar year. In 1955, Mr. Benedict reportedly married and divorced his wife, Evelyn, in the same month. One family member recalls him marrying one of his wives twice.
In 1955 Benedict married Lois Grace, an artist, who returned to Arizona after living in La Jolla. Lois would design landscapes for many of his projects. While little is known about Benedict through the 1960s and ‘70s, his residence was noted as Carefree, Arizona in both the 1962 and 1970 AIA directories.
Benedict served filmmaker Antonioni as technical advisor for Zabriskie Point (1970) as the home, Boulder Reign, he designed for Carl Hovgaard, was used both as a shooting location as well as Benedict advising the filmmaker on the model/replica of the same home that was blown up at the end of the film.
Hiram and Lois lived in Las Vegas in the mid-70s where he was reportedly working on teh Dunes casino and a residence. Hiram and Lois retired to Nordlan, Washington. He passed away in November 1984 and Lois died in September 1988.
I continue to seek information on Mr. Benedict. Drop me a line HERE with any information you have.
Partial List of Projects
A. Residence (1963)
Benedict Residence (ca. 1976)
Brill, Blanche Residence
Bullock's Demonstration Homes
Cliffton, Dr. Bacon L. Building
Davies, Marion Beach House
de Laittre, Karl Residence
Gibbs, Earl Residence
Half Moon Anchorage and Boat-tel (1959)
Harris, Phil and Alice Faye Residence (1952)
Hicks, Alvah F. Residence
Hicks, Milton Residence
Hovgaard Residence (AKA Boulder Reign Residence) (1970
La Cita Apartments
Palm Springs Hotel (Remodel)
Paradise Valley Racquet Club (1955)
Pershing, Frank Residence
Private Residence (1952)
Private Residence (1961)
San Diego Yacht Club (1964)
Simon, Lloyd Residence
Sterling Library detailing
Wilson, H. Dalzell Residence