The Institute of Mentalphysics Receives National Register of Historic Places Designation

January 19, 2023 – Joshua Tree, CA – The Institute of Mentalphysics, d/b/a The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is pleased to announce it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as a historic district. The historical designation nomination, formally named “New City of Mentalphysics Historic District,” drafted by architectural historian Daniel Paul, was reviewed by the California State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and subsequently forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for consideration for listing in the National Register.

The Institute of Mentalphysics, Joshua Tree, CA, listed on 1/17/23

The New City of Mentalphysics Historic District meets the National Register of Historic Places under three criteria: Criterion A, as the most intact and expressive property associated with “Mentalphysics”- an alternative spiritual, teaching, and well-being discipline based and nurtured in Southern California; Criterion B, as the most historically significant U.S. property associated with Edwin John Dingle, later known as Ding Le Mei, the founder and President of the Institute of Mentalphysics; and Criterion C for architectural and design significance. The property features works by a variety of notable post World War II architects and builders, but especially Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., more commonly known as Lloyd Wright. The property includes the largest collection of Lloyd Wright works, and each of his 11 buildings on the property is a significant example of Organic Architecture. Lloyd Wright also undertook the hexagonal site plan for the district, and elements of its landscape design.

About the National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture. Aside from recognizing its special significance, the designation of the New City of Mentalphysics as a National Register historic district affords protections for the property against demolition, redevelopment, or substantial alteration without a thorough environmental review process.

The National Register was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 to ensure that as a matter of public policy, properties significant in national, state, and local history are considered in the planning of federal undertakings, and to encourage historic preservation initiatives by state and local governments and the private sector. The Act authorized the establishment of a

State Historic Preservation Office in each state and territory to help administer federal historic preservation programs.

The National Register nominations for recently listed properties may be read in their entirety by visiting the National Register of Historic Places website.

About the Institute of Mentalphysics

The Joshua Tree Retreat Center, home of the Institute of Mentalphysics, is the oldest and largest retreat center in the Western United States. As a non-profit 501(c)3, our mission is to be a retreat center for individuals and groups to create and experience new ways to approach spiritual living and personal well-being. As a result of its historical designation status, the property may use the more flexible “State Historical Building Code” to restore the numerous onsite works that Dingle oversaw. JTRC plans to launch a capital campaign to restore and protect the largest collection of Lloyd Wright buildings in the country.

For more information email us at:  [email protected]

Daniel Paul’s lecture on March 5 is on JTRC’s You Tube channel, “Field Notes on the Joshua Tree Retreat Center’s Historical Designation.” Learn all about how JTRC earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places.