Kaptur 1960s photo courtesy Palm Springs Art Museum
Hugh Kaptur was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the Lawrence Institute of Technology in 1949, where he studied architectural engineering. After two years, Kaptur enlisted in the Marines and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. During this time, Kaptur met his first wife, Rosemarie. The couple moved back to Detroit in 1954 where Kaptur worked for GM. They decided to relocate to Palm Springs in 1956, where he has lived ever since.
Kaptur started his Palm Springs career by apprenticing with Wexler & Harrison for six months, working as a draftsman and doing sketch renderings. In 1962, Kaptur designed four homes for the Far West Development Company, near Tamarisk Country Club. Initial plans were to create a $2.5 million development called “Tamarisk Village.” Kaptur designed five prototype homes—and 40 homes were planned, but only four homes were built. These were distinctive Kaptur designs. One of them, the Don Baker Residence, is in original condition today, with post and beam construction, rock-faced wall and freeform swimming pool. Kaptur designed many notable residential and commercial buildings in Palm Springs that embody his innovation and use of dramatic sculptural elements.