Thank You For Visiting Sedona Legend-
The Jack And Helen Frye Story!
Sedona's Celebrity Love Story!
This is the official, not to mention only, web portal in the world
dedicated exclusively to the legacy of Jack and Helen Frye!
The Frye Legacy-
a Lifetime of Accomplishment!
By Randall Reynolds
The Sedona Legend Web Site is a copyrighted historical photo enhanced narrative presented for
educational and entertainment purposes. Some materials may be displayed in regard to the
United States Fair Use Act. This web portal is totally non-profit and generates no income nor
does it seek or has it ever accepted a single donation. It is an independent venture.
Sedona Legend was envisioned and created to provide Red Rock State Park visitors a
comprehensive historic overview for Jack and Helen Frye and their Deer-Lick and Smoke Trail
Ranches. This effort is now officially cited by R.R.S.P. as an indepth historical venue
representing Jack and Helen Frye.
Sedona Legend is encouraged by the many friends of Jack and Helen Frye. A gracious thank
you to the Frye and Varner families for invaluable support and Red Rock State Park staff and
volunteers for their enthusiasm.
Sedona Legend Helen Frye a.k.a. the Jack and Helen Frye Story
A Decade of Research and Presentation- Created By Randall D. Reynolds
Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved
The Frye Mansion @ Arlington Virginia
A colonial mansion resided in by two remarkable people, a couple so
charismatic, that 65-years later, they are remembered as legends!
With a seemingly endless circle of friends they empowered the world.
An estate with a red carpet welcoming all to the 'Camelot Years' of
Transcontinental & Western Air and the glorious Future of Aviation!"
"For a moment in time this stately TWA executive mansion played a
role that boggles the mind. It entertained dignitaries like the White
House as music spilled out over the pool and gardens down to the
banks of the Potomac River. Partnerships were clinched- countries
came together- and history was forged. TWA encompassed the world!
Called 'Hillcrest Farm' by the Fryes, 'Four Winds' by Howard
Hughes, and the 'TWA House' by the press. Currently the property
is called 'The Cedars'. Locals call it 'the Doubleday Mansion'.
Lost in America- the Mystery of the Doubleday Mansion
Jack and Helen Frye in the Breakfast Room of Hillcrest Farm (The Doubleday Mansion) Jack's
Birthday March 18, 1945. The Doubleday Mansion (The Cedars) @ 2301 N. Uhle Street, now
2145 N. 24th Street Arlington VA. was a noted power-center for the Democratic Party in the
1940's. Some of the party's most influential men (to include Truman) frequented the mansion
as guests of Jack Frye (one of the party's most powerful members). Jack Frye was even asked
to run for President of the United States (likely 1952 or 1956). This image and the one at the
bottom of the page are the only 2 surviving photos of the Fryes at the famous mansion.
Photo courtesy of TWA Skyliner Magazine.
Hillcrest Farm was Jack and Helen's Washington D.C. estate in the state of Virginia. A stately
brick mansion, said to be seen from Washington D.C., Hillcrest is one of the older historic
colonials, resting above Arlington on the banks of the Potomac River, adjoining Falls Church,
VA. The Frye’s occupancy was such an exciting and historical time period (1944-1947) that
many remember this residence even more so than the Frye Ranch at Sedona Arizona. This in
spite of the fact that Jack and Helen actually only resided at this Potomac mansion for
approximately 4 years. Helen Vanderbilt Frye personally found this home at the beginning of
1944, after many months of searching for the perfect location. Subsequently, it was leased as a
TWA executive residence. The objective, was to set up a TWA "White House" to be utilized
during the war years. This estate, along with Jack's Washington D.C. office, had one purpose
only- to strategically secure all international routes for Transcontinental and Western Air! Jack
needed a D.C. location that could be utilized to entertain the very highest levels of government,
corporate, and political associates.
The property needed accommodations for overnight guests, and as well, a full-time staff. Two
particular members of this staff were a professional chef, Evangeline, and her husband, Aubrey
(the property caretaker and limo chauffeur). These two employees became intimate and
treasured members of Jack and Helen's family. So much so that their son (also named Aubrey)
became Jack and Helen's godson. Evangeline soon became one of Helen's most treasured life
long friends and also helped Helen furnish the empty rooms of this 200-year old estate. Helen
enrolled herself and Evangeline in classes to learn about antiques and tapestries. Then they
both spent months traveling all over the East Coast buying up just the right furnishings to
represent TWA at the estate.
The mansion was built in approximately 1740. During the Frye ownership the property consisted
of 70 acres of land with riding trails and gardens. Two interesting aspects of the mansion was a
"pink" powder room which Helen had designed, very unusual for the time, and a cement
swimming pool (more common in California). Because the mansion was the social hub of TWA,
it was also renovated, it was said, with 6 bars, all fully stocked. According to Arlington Living
Magazine writer Daisy Kahlifa, who interviewed me for her article, Jack Frye had 6 telephone
trunk lines and 52 extensions installed at the mansion. Other enhancements were a large
"Olympic-size" swimming pool built near the main house. Kahlifa stated the pool was imported
piece by piece from California and flown over by Jack on TWA airliners. Jack and Helen both
enjoyed the pool as did many of the "Who's Who" of the time period. The estate functioned not
only as a D.C. residence for Jack and Helen, but as well, a strategic power center for TWA
official business and socializing. Many deals were created here that benefited the world of
aviation and the United States Government. The press coined the place "The TWA Mansion".
The Doubleday Mansion
pool was a treasured
luxury added by the
Fryes which they used as
a quiet retreat from
their harried life in
1940's Washington D.C.
They loved to swim and
entertain pool side-
swimming areas were
found at all their homes.
The only image of the pool area from the Frye ownership is seen above. Helen Frye's niece
Sheryl plays with a childhood friend Wally Neely next to the swimming pool of the Frye
Doubleday Mansion at Arlington, VA. (about 1944-45). Notice they are both drinking Coca
Colas! Sheryl recently told me that there was a frog in the pool so none of them would go
swimming. Funny what children remember- huh? In a letter to Frye architect John Gaw Meem
in Santa Fe, N.M., Helen describes the mansion's pool area- "we have a swimming pool here in
Washington that has dressing rooms under a flagstone walk around the pool and we have a
dickens of a time to keep the rain from leaking through. I have even had it torn up and
re-cemented underneath and still it leaks badly". (January 16, 1945)
Jack and Helen Frye were both avid swimmers. They swam frequently at their 5-acre estate at
Overland Park Kansas which had a large pond and stream flowing through the rear of the
property. They also loved to swim in Oak Creek which snaked through their 700 acre ranch at
Sedona Arizona. This was the motivation that drove the Frye’s to create a beautiful swimming
sanctuary at the Doubleday Mansion. They not only entertained poolside frequently but would
relax in the refreshing waters late in the evenings to unwind before retiring. The pressure on
Jack Frye as head of TWA before and after the war would have destroyed an average man. No
one describes it better than Helen herself in letters to a Frye friend in Arizona as seen below.
Helen Frye Letters Describe Mansion Life
"We are now established in our country house in Washington, which in my opinion, is a pretty
poor substitute for the ranch, but still very, very much better than hotel life. The house is
about two hundred years old and has seventy acres of land with a lovely swimming pool. We are
going to get a couple of riding horses and stock the place soon. Do you think you could ever
consider an Eastern trip? Jack and I would both enjoy very much having you come and spend a
month with us." Helen Frye, Hillcrest Farm, Falls Church, Virginia, February 21, 1944.
"We have a new pet, which is a little unusual and I want to tell you about it. About three weeks
ago right after a bad thunderstorm, Sonja, my big police dog, found a baby hawk on the lawn.
He was all by himself, no momma, no papa, and he couldn't fly even downhill. I told Sonja not
to hurt it and of course she didn't but she was very curious and had to sniff him all over. The
hawk refused to back up an inch and sat back on his tail, put his feet up and opened his mouth
and dared anyone to touch him. When I picked him up he stuck his talons in my fingers until it
was very painful, but he soon got over that and has been very gentle since.
I kept him for a week. At first I put him in the waste paper basket at night, then inside an
inverted lampshade, but finally had to settle for the top of the door to the bedroom as he was
very unhappy except when he was on the highest spot in the room. One day I sat him in the
window and the robins outside got very excited and the baby responded very excited too. I have
known of other birds caring for young of another species when something would happen to their
parents and I thought since the baby was so anxious to get to them that they were going to
adopt him. I put him out on the roof but it was a mistake. The baby Thunderbird lost his
balance and fell off the roof and only kept from hurting himself because a limb of a tree broke
his fall. Then the robins started dive-bombing him and the little fellow caught on very quick; he
ran for cover and was very glad to see me when I arrived.
The Thunderbird won't eat anything but raw meat and seldom ever takes a drink of water but
goes for lemonade once in awhile. I carried him around on my shoulder every time I went
outside, thinking that sooner or later he would feel confident enough to fly away, and after a
week of care he did fly away. We didn't think we would ever see him again, but he showed up
the next day at the pool and has been there every day since. He comes down and lights on your
head or arm and makes little bird noises and eats what you have for him-- which is either parts
of Sonja's horse meat or the lung or liver of a chicken. My houseman is quite fond of him too
and spends his leisure hours every day giving the bird a bath. Although the swimming pool is
there and shallow water goes over the rim this Thunderbird likes his bath in a pie-pan and
assisted by his own personal valet. He really soaks himself good but never drinks it. All the
liquid I've ever seen him drink is blood and lemonade.
We have had the League of Nations represented here this week and all of them, you
understand, are in direct line of business and most of it post-war planning. Col. Shoop-- who
was the first man out on the invasion on 'D' day, flying a P-38, and the first man back to
report-was here for a dinner of hot dogs cooked over the barbecue at the pool late one evening.
His tales are very exciting and interesting and I guess he is very lucky to be back here now,
although he will return soon. He says those bombs-the robot ones-are really terrible. This
fellow was test pilot for the Constellation and was on the trip coming across. We have had
during the past week people from France, Holland, Arabia, China, South America, New
Zealand, Egypt, Canada, Scotland, Africa.
There's no use explaining to you why my husband hasn't any time to go visiting. I am more
thankful every day for the swimming pool; otherwise he would be doing like he did the last
three years-- working in the hotel and office all the time. Now he often takes his people to the
pool and they can keep cool, bodily as well as mentally, while they work on their plans. Last
night at midnight you would have probably gotten a kick out of seeing him and another man,
like two porpoises in the pool, just leisurely moving about under a big moon. It looked like
pleasure but when you got close enough to hear them they were working on very serious
business." Helen Frye, Hillcrest Farm, Falls Church (Arlington VA.) July 10, 1944.
Howard Hughes and The Cedars
In regard to the close association between Howard Hughes, Jack and Helen Frye, and TWA,
Howard was at times a visitor to the Washington Frye mansion. Media articles, published in the
past, have assumed because of Howard's association with the Doubleday Mansion, "that it was
owned and lived in by the billionaire Howard Hughes". I have not found any evidence to this
general assumption. It must be noted that Howard disliked being in Washington in the first
place and stayed there infrequently. When he did stay in D.C., he often stayed at the famous
posh Mayflower Hotel where he had a private suite of rooms, not out at the mansion. Jack and
Helen, too, often stayed at the Mayflower in their own suite in the early 1940's. Howard, it
appears, stayed at the mansion occasionally when the Frye's were absent. The Fryes spent a
considerable amount of time traveling on business to New York City, Kansas City, and Los
Angeles. They were also building a large home at their ranch in Sedona Arizona from 1941 to
1950. Evangeline Brown told me that Howard had his own private rooms at the mansion which
no one was allowed to enter. The house at that time had 30-some rooms. The staff was
instructed to never divulge Howard's presence to reporters which were always trying to track
his where-a-bouts. Evangeline became skilled at waiting on Howard and she and Helen learned
how to cook his steaks just the way he liked them. (We have all heard the stories about Howard
and his steaks and peas.) Howard, I think, enjoyed staying with the Fryes, even at their Sedona
Ranch (where he stayed under an assumed name). He could relax and socialize in private.
During the 1940's Jack and Helen Frye were often guests
at the White House as they were associated with the
Roosevelt family and Harry S. Truman. The latter was
occasionally seen at the Doubleday Mansion as he and
Jack were close friends. Popular lore relates that Truman
and Jack often played poker together with other
associates. Testament to this is Jack Frye’s sister (the
late) Mrs. Sunny Frye Thomas. She related to me a story
of one of the times she met the former President Truman
at the dedication of the Jack Frye Training Center
(Kansas City) in 1962. Also in attendance was Jack’s then
wife, Nevada, and his young daughter Nevajac Frye. At the
dedication, Truman nudged Sunny and kiddingly said,
“I liked Jack, because he’d let me win at poker”. Please
see the Jack Frye Training Center on Page 1963. Jack was
said to have unfettered access to the White House and
Oval Office during W.W. II. Unheard of access for a
civilian and this attests to Jack's importance to the nation..
A.K.A. The Doubleday Mansion
Mrs. Jack Frye, in Clarksburg West Virginia, visiting her
family. Shown with her two nieces, Sisty and Sheryl. (1943)
Interesting recollections about Hughes by the late Evangeline Brown were recalled to me in
interviews. One incident was about a meeting which was scheduled at the Doubleday Mansion,
attended by a group of very important business men. Hughes was to attend but no one could
find him as he was missing, yet again. Jack got together a secret recovery team and started a
search. It seems Howard had been in another plane accident. Once located, somewhere in a
desert, he was whisked back to Washington where he was immediately transported out to
Hillcrest Farm. There he was quietly secreted to the kitchen of the mansion. Evangeline herself
cleaned him up, describing him as standing at the kitchen sink of the mansion in his boxer
shorts with blood and grease from head to toe. After he was presentable and dressed in
appropriate attire, he entered the meeting, which by now was in progress. Hidden from the men
was the fact that Howard had been in yet another accident and they were none the wiser. The
nature of the meeting would have been compromised by Howard's behavior, it seems.
Jack and Helen along with others Hughes associates were always covering for Howard. It was
well known in Jack's inner circle that Helen usually knew Howard's location when no one else
did (they had a bond and he trusted her). One 'oft told story unfolds that the TWA Board of
Directors needed financing for new planes. Again, Howard's input was needed but no one could
locate him. A call was put through to Helen Frye who said "yes, she knew where Howard was.”
However she made the TWA Board of Directors promise they would not have her followed and
only then would she retrieve Howard. Once assured, Helen Frye flew to Florida. There she went
to a certain park and under a certain bench she found a man sleeping under newspapers. Helen
said to the man "Howard, the board has to make a decision and you have to come with me."
Howard, quietly, returned to New York City with Helen. Quite an astounding tale to be sure,
but not so, when one reviews the unorthodox and bizarre life of Howard R. Hughes. Two other
vaguely remembered incidents (short on details) by Frye intimates reveal another time Howard
was M.I.A. Helen, again, was the only one who was able to locate him, this time on an Indian
Reservation (likely 4-Corners area). The other incident Helen would relate is that she had to
deliver something to Howard once at a hotel. This, likely the Washington Mayflower or in New
York City. Either way she found it odd that everything in the suite was covered with towels.
These incidents and many more were a enormous burden for Jack Frye who was trying to
operate and launch international air service. Howard, being the largest TWA stockholder,
wielded enormous power, but his inability to follow through, make decisions, and his frequent
disappearing acts were crippling for TWA and caused everyone a lot of grief. Writers out there
who never knew Hughes and romanticize his life as a stellar pilot and human being have no
idea what he was really like as experienced by the people who had to deal with him daily.
Helen had a wonderful canine companion that she rescued when she was married to Cornelius
Vanderbilt Jr., this German Shepherd was named Sonja and is mentioned above in letters from
Hillcrest Farm to a Frye friend by Helen Frye. At Hillcrest, the dog was never allowed upstairs.
This was dictated by Jack who felt the dog's place was downstairs, not in the private upstairs
portion of the mansion. However, this canine proved to have quite an intuitive sense. One day
in the mid-1940’s, in the wee hours of the morning the mansion’s phone rang, Jack answered it
only to learn that a TWA airliner had crashed with fatalities. Somberly, he replaced the phone
and sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. Helen, awake by now, was comforting
him quietly. At that moment, Helen heard Sonja come up the stairs and into the large bedroom,
where she walked straight over to Jack and gently laid her head in his lap. Jack was
overwhelmed by the dog's sensitivity and compassion for his anguish. A side of Jack Frye rarely
seen, a man crying for the loss of passengers he could not save. The safety of every person at
TWA rested solely on Jack's shoulders, a burden not always easily carried by this ‘oft said to be
“giant of a man”. From that point on Sonja was allowed upstairs whenever she desired and Jack
would take her on flights whenever possible. In the cockpit, this former police dog sat proudly
between Jack and Helen on their private Lockheeds, and beside Jack, when he would pilot TWA
ships. Thanks to Rosie Armijo and Evangeline Brown for this beautiful and touching story!
A posed Helen Frye, with
makeup, lying on a red rock
adjoining Oak Creek @ the
Frye Ranch in Sedona. Next to
her is Sonja, the rescued police
dog, and a tossed aside
swimming cap. This photo was
likely taken by Jack because of
it's exceptional quality. Jack
was a professional photographer.
The year was about 1943.
Jack Frye Saves Passengers From Peril
One last event that must be told is remembered vividly by Evangeline. This personal chef of the
Frye's often flew to and from their various homes to cook for parties and dinners. This
particular time she was flying out west with Jack and Sonja on a TWA airliner. Helen was
meeting them in California. Somewhere over the Midwest, the plane encountered a blinding
blizzard. The weather was so bad that the plane was being tossed around like a ping pong ball in
an angry ocean. Jack sent the flight Hostess up to the cockpit to tell the pilots to land the plane
A.S.A.P. The Hostess came back and told Jack she couldn't get in the cockpit and received no
answer knocking on the door. Jack then stood up and made his way to the cockpit. He also
couldn't get the pilots to open the door, alarmed he quickly broke the door open. To his
amazement what he found was total pandemonium. The two pilots were in a state of panic and
no longer had control of the plane. With conditions of zero visibility, powerful gales and icing,
the ship was in peril. Jack Frye quickly relieved the overwrought captain and assumed control
of the doomed airliner. Within minutes he wrestled the airliner back under control, while
quickly descending to a small Midwestern airstrip. On approach he was unable to see the
runway from the windshield so he broke out a side window. From this position, his head out in
the driving sleet and snow, he landed the plane safely. After the weather improved a new plane
and crew was dispatched to retrieve the stranded passengers and Frye. The fate of the
inexperienced pilots is not known but surely locking the president of the airline out of the
cockpit isn't advised! "Jack Frye saved those passengers that day and if he hadn't taken control
of the plane we would have all perished for sure" exclaimed Evangeline to me! Certainly not
the first story of Jack Frye's heroism and expertise as a pilot, Jack Frye, often said to be
TWA’s best pilot. One wonders if the airliner was a Stratoliner, duly noted for its poor flight
Rough TWA Flight Over the Central Plains
Jack Frye often flew scheduled TWA airliners this regardless of any position he held with the
TWA or any other airline owned. One such instance was witnessed by Helen Abbott Lapham.
The actual event was originally hard to pin down, but finally I found it to be June 10, 1934. The
airliner was a DC-2, TWA #304, NC13714, the fourth DC2 built. Mrs. Lapham was the wife of
Roger Lapham who served as the 32nd mayor of San Francisco from 1944 to 1948. This TWA
flight was a chartered V.I.P. ship full of celebrities; Grand Central Terminal Burbank CA. to
Newark, N.J. via Albuquerque, N.M.
Jack Frye and Howard Hughes occasionally flew these VIP flights, as also witnessed later by
Hughes intimate, Terry Moore. Ms. Moore has been heard to say that she flew several times
with Jack Frye, as captain-pilot, and his wife Helen Frye, as a V.I.P. Hostess who served drinks
to celebrities passengers on flights from Hollywood to N.Y. These flights may have appeared to
be “showboat” flights, with Frye “grabbing a plane” (like Hughes often would do) and filling it
full of celebrity friends and flying off to some Broadway show and dinner in N.Y.C. But despite
the ease and frolic of the passengers these were always chartered flights and created revenue
for TWA, the special attention to passengers and fun in flight, was compliments of Jack and
From the following we learn that Helen Frye availed herself on everyday scheduled passenger
flights as well. She herself mentioned a TWA flight from the southwest to New York City in the
mid-1940’s in a letter to a friend. (I assume it was a TWA Constellation.) Helen stated that she
acted as the “social hostess” as she often did on such cross-country flights. This entailed
helping the hostesses serve drinks and entertain the passengers. Helen related she visited the
cockpit on this flight and was surprised that they were flying at 11,000 to 13,000 feet, as she did
not feel they had climbed that high. (She did not mention whether Jack was onboard this trip.)
Helen went on to state that she hardly sat down the entire flight as she was so busy with the
passengers. So there we have it, a reference from Helen Frye herself, about her life as an
occasional V.I.P. Hostess for TWA. The passengers must have loved the special attention from
the beautiful, glamorous, and charming wife of the president of TWA. As I have said before the
unique thing about TWA was that Jack and Helen Frye were very young (Helen was just 35, and
Jack 41, in 1945). This youthful expression and never-ending exuberance added greatly to the
Camelot Years of TWA!
Mrs. Lapham wrote candidly about her experience with Frye in her entertaining book, “Roving
With Roger”. This book chronicled her days as the wife of a very busy politician. In the book,
she describes a rough TWA flight which encountered a nasty thunderstorm. After the storm, a
TWA co-pilot came back to visit with her and consoles her saying there was no reason to worry
because they had the best pilot there is up in the cockpit. Mrs. Lapham had visited with Frye
earlier as he was piloting the plane as captain.
Wild Rides Through the Backroads
of Virginia and Washington D.C.
A rather amusing tale was related to me by the Brown's son, Aubrey. Because his father was
the chauffeur for the mansion he would drive the Fryes and their guests into town for
entertainment, movies, parties, etc. However, this was all done with several automobiles
because of the number of guests. Aubrey Jr. said, "the women would not ride with Jack." I
asked, "why?" "Because" he said, "Jack Frye didn't so much drive- as fly low!" "What in the
world do you mean" I said? He continued, "you know, he was used to flying planes. If the
women rode with Jack they peed their pants from fear!" The solution? The men rode with
Jack, and the women rode in comfort with the chauffeur in the mansion's limousine!
Texas Chili in Washington D.C.? Oh My!
Jack and Helen Frye entertained constantly at Hillcrest Farm, with formal dinners accompanied
by live music to more relaxed intimate dinners by the pool for rushed and harried executives.
One special casual dish served was Texas Chili. Jack Frye loved this southern favorite- "the
hotter, the better!" Jack had Evangeline flown down to South Texas, where she was taken
across the border to a little Mexican town. Here, Jack arranged for Evangeline to stay and learn
how to prepare authentic Texas Chili. Jack felt that no one in the states knew how to make it
properly. Finally after a week, Evangeline returned to Washington D.C. Much to Jack's delight,
she was now able to prepare his favorite Texas Chili for his many guests and friends. "You
would take one bite of chili and follow with two sips of beer" said Evangeline. "Jack would have
me prepare it for him to take in the cockpit, so he could eat it on flights, and for his friends to
take home, as well" said Evangeline. She continued "I still know how to make it and if you
come out to see me here in Washington, I will make it for you!" Unfortunately, Evangeline
passed away this month and the delightful lady I came to know and love is gone forever, to
include her wonderful stories and cooking talents.
What Became of the TWA Frye Mansion?
After the war TWA was over-extended
financially. This had everything to do with
establishing their Trans-World-Service and
little to do with the TWA executive mansion.
World-Wide service was a monumental and a
costly affair with overseas terminals,
maintenance facilities, and a new trans-world
fleet. It took TWA many years to recover from
this expansion; however, in the end it was well
worth the toll it took on the company. This
period of the airline's history before Jack Frye
resigned is without a doubt what made the
company the "Mega International Airline" of
the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Around the time Jack
resigned from TWA the famous Virginia
mansion was closed up. All the furniture (much
of it antiques) was auctioned off, with Helen
Frye personally purchasing a great deal of it.
These furnishings Helen had delivered to her
dear friend the Baroness Stackelberg. Garnett
needed the furniture for a new large residence
she had recently moved into at Washington
D.C. Helen and Garnett had been friends long
before Jack and Helen were married. The Fryes
were indebted to the Stackelbergs as it was the
Baron with his European connections which
greatly excelled TWA's acquisition of their
oversea service, namely the Orient. The last
Viceroy of India was the Baron's cousin.
Evangeline Brown Remained Close
What became of the Frye’s Evangeline Brown? She remained close to Jack and Helen and
continued to fly out to Sedona to visit, with her son, who became the Frye's god-child. After the
Virginia mansion was closed, Howard Hughes approached the Browns and asked (begged) them
to come work for him, as Hughes said, "at double the salary!" Howard always considered
Evangeline, "his personal chef" and loved her cooking, even though Evangeline said, "I
actually worked for Jack and Helen Frye, not Howard Hughes". In the end, Aubrey and
Evangeline decided they liked Washington, too much, to leave. And Howard? He was just too
much of an enigma to work for. Evangeline continued to cook for the Who's Who of
Washington; the Johnsons, Kennedys, Stackelbergs, and numerous diplomats. Known as a
professional chef, she and her staff would prepare the most lavish dinners, from basic southern
fare, to elaborate formal state dinners, but never again would she serve Texas Chili! Working
for the Fryes, and her association with Hughes, remained the highlight of her exciting life!
Memories of the White House- by Helen Frye
Helen Frye was invited to the White House on several occasions. Jack Frye knew F.D.R. well,
and was also an intimate friend of President Harry S. Truman. Of interest were her comments
that prove out this association- to paraphrase: “The first time I met F.D.R., I was shocked to
see that he was in a wheelchair. I was not previously privy to the fact that he had been afflicted
by polio”. Many citizens were not aware that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had limited use of his
legs. The handicap was kept from the nation at large, and at the time, television was in its
infancy. Jack Frye, and Helen, both, attended a ceremony at the White House in 1946, when
Jack was presented with the Medal for Merit as directed by President Truman. Again, on
October 1, 1947, Jack was at the White House (Rose Garden) with Truman who presented
another Medal for Merit to Col. Louis Johnson, United States Secretary of War, Commander of
the American Legion, and executive with G.A.F. (Frye was C.E.O. of General Aniline and Film).
Helen Frye, was also remembered to have said that one time when she was invited to a dinner
at the White House that the president fed his dog from the dinner table! She was touched the
president had that kind of love for animals. This, Helen said, endeared him to her from that
point on! Of course we know that Helen Frye was a avid animal lover and advocate, later even,
a founder of the Sedona Humane Society. It was not clear "which" president she was referring
to with this comment, but with a little investigation the trail seems to lead straight to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, who himself was a great lover of animals. The dog in question was likely
Roosevelt's Scottie dog, "Fala". Truman was not known to have had pets in the White House
but both men had ties with Jack Frye. Jack and Harry would get together as time allowed,
flying off in Jack’s Lockheeds on hunting and fishing trips. As well, Jack and Helen
entertained Truman informally at their mansion in Arlington Virginia. At the Frye Mansion,
Truman could get together with his peers to relax and play poker in seclusion. Jack Frye was a
pivotal and powerful man in the Democratic Party. If you wanted something done you could
count on Jack Frye to do it fast!
Martini Pitcher Served Presidents
Above we see Helen Frye, in 1970, at the Sedona
home of her dearest friend, Pat Purchase. Behind
Helen on the bar, on the right is a tall glass
Martini Pitcher which Mrs. Frye gave to the
Purchases because Pat loved Martinis. This
Martini Pitcher once belonged to Helen and her
husband Jack, and Helen said he served drinks to
U.S. President(s) out of it! The mystery is who?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt drank Martinis, but
Truman is said to have drank only Bourbon or
Scotch. Both were entertained by the Fryes.
Frye Mansion Social Whirl of '44
Two other well remembered events when the Fryes were at Doubleday Mansion- One was the
marriage for movie star Julie Bishop to famous World War II pilot, Lieutenant Colonel
Clarence Shoop (who was a close friend of the Fryes). This event took place at the Virginia
mansion on July 24, 1944 and was attended by close friends.
The second (not held at the mansion because of the enormity of the event) was across the
Potomac at the famous Statler Hotel. Here, on April 19, 1944, the Fryes hosted a party for 1500
people to commemorate the famous Constellation record breaking flight of April 17, 1944. Yes,
Frye friend and TWA stockholder Howard Hughes was there, and yes contrary to popular
rumors of the day he did stand graciously in the receiving line and shook nearly a 1000
outstretched hands, smiling as did the hosts of the gala, Jack and Helen Frye. This event was a
huge Washington D.C. party totally forgotten by time. When the Fryes returned to Hillcrest
Farm in the wee hours of the morning they were exhausted beyond words!
2301 North Uhle Street-
Now known as 2145 North 24th Street- Arlington, Virginia
Current State of the Frye Mansion
The mansion today plays a role vaguely similar to the role it played regally during World War
II with TWA. The emphasis is on "vaguely", however. It appears the property was purchased by
the current owners in about 1978. Today, it is no longer a private V.I.P. Residence, but rather
more akin to a high-level presidential retreat. The most elite members of our government and
corporate world still meet within the stately walls, but in our current day, the meetings appear
to be more clandestine in nature. In front of the marbled fireplaces and within the hushed
shadows of the 20-some rooms, the mansion is a cloak and dagger affair, apparently one which
shares no secrets. A compound, by no other accurate description, seen by some as a mini-Camp
David of sorts for the current religious, corporate and government leaders of our world. This all
enhanced, at times, with machine gun toting sentry guards, and it is said, endless lines of
bullet-proof limousines stealthily negotiating the long-winding drive of the estate. In spite of
the extreme privacy and shadow the mansion has been meticulously restored and it appears it is
beloved by all who frequent it.
Closure- Fryes and the Doubleday Mansion
The Frye time frame at the Doubleday Mansion was experienced during a monumental era in
the history of our great country. Although the Fryes resided at the mansion for such a short
time they are well-remembered icons of the property, even now some 70-years later. When the
war was over, everyone's lives had changed amid much loss in our world, yet great things were
still accomplished. The Virginia mansion was no longer needed by TWA, and the Fryes moved
on to other endeavors, milestones, and accomplishments around the country. Did Helen Frye
miss the mansion life? In the mind of this author, highly unlikely, Helen’s life was a social
whirlwind of entertaining and travel. From the time she met and was married to New York
scion Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. (from 1932 to 1940) to her later marriage and association with
Jack Frye (1938-1950) she became weary of her fast paced social whirl and the responsibilities it
placed on her as a hostess and wife. She and Jack both longed for the quiet solitude of their
Sedona Ranch, a place they could escape the crowds and reporters and relax in peace. It is
doubtful that either one of them “missed” the mansion, as it really was a just a finely decorated
reception hall for TWA business, not so much a comforting private “home”. They lived there
because TWA dictated it, neither one of them ever aspired to one day own a colonial estate and
mansion (with endless upkeep) in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
The Frye’s had a lot of irons in the fire by war’s end and other more intimate homes. They
owned a small home in Georgetown (likely used for privacy), a large Tudor-home on 5-acres in
Overland Park, Kansas, a suite in New York City, three ranches in Arizona- one in Sedona
where they were building a 11,610 square foot home adjoining several other Frye ranch houses,
and two other ranches, east and west of Flagstaff, Arizona, (50,000 acres in all). They also
owned property in Texas. The mansion in D.C. gave Frye and TWA the tool it needed to wine
and dine the political and commercial powers of the world with one goal in mind- to secure
overseas routes after the war, which would (and did) enable TWA to encompass the world. The
host and hostess of this miraculous feat were Jack and Helen Frye, the reception hall was the
Doubleday Mansion and never again would TWA experience such a world of "Camelot"!
Note: (The pool Helen referred to was added after it was decided that the mansion would
become the official executive residence for TWA. It is not known if it was a renovation.) Helen
continues her narrative of "life at the Doubleday Mansion" in additional letters as seen below:
Helen Frye started canvassing the countryside around the Potomac River in Virginia, directly
across from the White House in late 1943. What she eventually found was described in a letter,
written by Helen herself in February 1944 shortly after the Frye's had settled into the TWA
mansion. The first time she mentions the mansion in a letter to a friend appears below in part:
The TWA Executive Residence- a Crucial Key
Result? TWA Becomes a Trans World Airline
As discussed on this page, TWA needed a location in Washington to wine and dine the powers
that be, in order to secure world air route domination. The mansion was part of a strategic
business plan, it was not just a grand home for their president. Pan American Airways also had
an executive mansion used for the same purpose. Pam Am was TWA’s main contender in a
competition as to which airline would become the world’s new U.S. "trans-world" carrier.
Was the estate purchased or leased by TWA? This has never been positively verified. Some
people infer it was always leased, but the facts are confusing. First, the swimming pool TWA
financed, likely would not have been approved for a house that was leased. Also it has recently
come to my attention that around the time Jack resigned from TWA, in February of 1947,
TWA decided to "sell" the "executive residence". This indicates to me that TWA possibly, by
that time owned the property outright. In the beginning (1944) the Fryes arranged a unique and
ingenious deal with the then owners of the Hockley estate. They (Fryes and TWA) would
execute major renovations in exchange for a obscenely low lease fee. For several years this was
the deal. But in the end when the estate was for sale, did TWA decide that in lieu of their
investments, that they would come out ahead to purchase the estate and resell it? A mystery.
January 25, 1947- TWA Executive Committee Meeting
The official notes below discuss the mansion:
SALE OF EXECUTIVE RESIDENCE, WASHINGTON D.C.
Mr. Bradley then stated that in his opinion, the financial condition of the company did not
justify the maintenance of the executive residence in Washington, D.C. The matter was
discussed in detail and the opinion was expressed by all members that this property should be
disposed of when, and if, a reasonable deal could be worked out. It was agreed that the property
should be appraised and other proper steps be taken, looking to the ultimate disposal of the
property. Please note: Jack Frye, president of TWA, was in attendance as a member of this
committee and totally agreed with the action.
TWA Board of Director Meeting (February 25th, 1947)
HOCKLEY ESTATE-WASHINGTON D.C.
The matter of disposing of the Hockley Estate, D.C. was discussed, but no decision was reached
pending a report to be made by the real estate appraisers.
For 100 years the mansion was identified as the Doubleday Mansion. In 1898 the mansion was
resided in by Col. Charles and Sarah Doubleday. By this time the mansion was well over 100
years old. Yes, it appears Charles and Sarah were connected to the Doubleday dynasty but it is
not sure just how. Throughout the years many names and associations have been attached to
the property, Helen and Jack Frye renamed it "Hillcrest Farm". The TWA Board of Directors
called it the "Hockley Estate" and at times the "TWA Executive Residence". Another name
that is known to apply to the property was "The Admiral Wilkinson School for Boys" which
was it is assumed its nature prior or after the time TWA acquired the property. Helen Frye
personally, saw to the renovation of the mansion, which in turn TWA paid for. There was
controversy within TWA as to the expenditures it doled out on the property. However, Jack and
Helen Frye can be commended at this point in time for the divine insight to establish the
residence in the first place. The funds were entirely justified, as the property was the pivotal
vehicle that enabled TWA, through entertaining and lobbying in a strategic location, to secure
the overseas routes that established its status as the very first trans-world airline and
guaranteed the company's future success. The Fryes also paid for many expenses personally.
Doubleday Mansion History
When Helen found the house it was empty and it is assumed it had not been used as a "home"
anytime recently. She had the burden of overseeing the renovation of the tattered mansion to a
more grand expression. The Fryes had the entire interior renovated and either reconditioned or
built a new swimming pool. The residence had to be capable of welcoming the very highest
members of society and Helen made sure that it was well suited for this purpose! Her
experience as a "Vanderbilt Wife" enabled her to pull off this coup for TWA in a way that no
one else possibly could and she was respected for this by the company for this. From personal
friend- author Robert Serling, who wrote the famous book: "Howard Hughes' Airline, an
informal history of TWA," Bob refers to the property as the "Four Winds". This was the
supposedly the name Howard applied to the property when he stayed there. However, I have not
found any other references to the mansion by this name. The house was said to have views of
the Potomac in four directions. Keep in mind this property sits on a crest and the mansion, it is
said, has the highest and best vistas views in all directions. Bravo to Helen Vanderbilt Frye for
it is she who was documented with finding the property in 1943- not TWA. It bodes well of her
history of establishing similar residences in Sedona Arizona. By the way Bob Serling knew Jack
However, only Truman is known to have been entertained at the Frye Doubleday Mansion in
D.C. and the Frye home in Kansas City. By Purchase's daughter Sarah. Click for larger file.
The in-depth article was well-researched by writer Daisy Khalifa and the color images seen here
are courtesy of Ms. Kahlifa. The informative piece focuses on the building's amazing history and
famous occupants, to include the Fryes and the TWA years. Because of copyright restrictions I
was not able to get permission from the publisher to reproduce the article here.
Much wining and dining was executed by Jack and Helen, night and day, in an effort to make
Transcontinental & Western Air a world enterprise. Many times I have heard that Helen Frye
played a major role in this expansion. Mysterious intimations but whatever does it mean? A
woman ahead of her time; standing firmly beside the leader of TWA (not behind him). Helen
obviously used her power and influence to help Jack Frye build a dream! As I often find,
intimations are typically formed from the wisps of past events and are often based in fact. Jack
stated, Helen could charm the pants off my associates, and she did too, until deals were signed.
Other renovations on the Doubleday Mansion (medicine cabinets) are discussed with Frye
architect John Gaw Meem (he was working on a Sedona home for the Fryes). “This old house
we have remodeled here in Washington had some corner lavatories. I like them even though
the medicine cabinet goes to one side or the other. The side for the best light can be chosen and
they take less room. I used two of them here.” Signed Helen Frye (October 27th, 1946)
The TWA Doubleday Mansion (above) as it appeared in mid-1947. This photo was taken at the
height of the Howard Hughes/Senator Brewster Congressional Hearings at Washington D.C.
The media reported the mansion as adjoined by 15 acres w/pool. Helen Frye stated it was 73
acres. By this time though (mid-1947) the Fryes had vacated the property and the house was
empty. The Fryes were in residence at their Sedona Arizona Ranch for the spring of 1947. They
also owned a smaller and more intimate townhouse in Georgetown (across the Potomac).
Credit: The image here and at the bottom of this page were originally used by a media-news
agency. They are vintage wire-photos or what we would categorize today as copies of originals
used for various news publications. The images were not owned by news service agencies (in the
field), in this case (The Tribune), who reproduced (published) the image (as on loan). The
original photographer is unknown (but originated in Wash D.C.). The images are not thought to
hold a renewed (current) copyright. These two original vintage wire-photos from 1947 are owned
by Sedona Legend. Further copyright information can be found at the bottom of Page 2010.
Hughes Association- In Depth
Helen Frye Serves as TWA "Social Hostess"
Locating a Power Center for TWA
Tales From the Frye Hillcrest Farm Estate
A profile on
appeared in a
(fall of 2006).
Rear Entrance to
room of the
March 18, 1945