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
Cross Creek Ranch- Sedona Arizona
Formerly the 320-acre Frye Deer-Lick Ranch
Very First Jack Frye Sedona Property Purchase Known Today as
Cross Creek Ranch and Helen Varner Frye's Cup of Gold Estates
In mid-1941, Jack and Helen Frye bought a substantial amount of ranch property in Sedona
Arizona. Jack Frye, long-time president and one of the original founders of Transcontinental &
Western Air (Trans World Airlines or TWA), purchased the property for use as a working
cattle ranch and TWA get-a-way. The property was also utilized throughout the years to
entertain many Frye guests to include associates of Transcontinental & Western Air, Hollywood
celebrities, and the "Who's Who" of our government. Helen named the first parcel of the new
Frye property "Deer-Lick Ranch" and the second parcel "Smoke Trail Ranch". Eventually, the
Fryes sold a 120-acre parcel (per Helen Frye interview) which included the Deer-Lick Ranch
buildings in 1947. This parcel was part of the original 320 acre Frye purchase from 1941. This
1947 sale (which did not close and record until 2-9-1948) was misleading; however, as Frye
actually increased the size of his Sedona holdings rather than decreased them- Jack Frye
merely shuffled his property a bit. The Deer Lick sale was in conjunction with other land trades
and purchases. As an example of Frye National Forest Service land trades, I cite just a couple:
Initiated by Jack Frye February 20 1946
Finalized- November 6 1947 (110 acres)
Initiated by Jack Frye February 20 1946
Finalized- November 6 1948 (52.50 acres)
Initiated by Jack Frye 1950
Finalized- April 9 1952 (32.5 acres)
The Wings of the Wind was built on the 32.5 acre parcel (see Page 1962). Land trades were with
the Frye Sunshine (22,000 acre) and Spring Valley (4,500 acre) Ranches in Northern Arizona
(which were substantially larger properties than any of the Sedona Frye holdings). By 1948 the
Fryes owned over 50,000 acres of ranch property in Arizona alone, this aside from other
residential properties around the country and sizeable Texas ranch holdings with oil interests.
The photo (left) of Jack and Helen was used in
a Fortune magazine profile on Jack from 1945.
The image was a Frye photo sent to Fortune to
use with the article (similar) to another photo
(below) which features just Helen taken at the
neighboring Smoke Trail Ranch. Both images
are from the earliest Frye time frame of about
1942. In Fortune the caption was as follows-
"Jack and Helen Frye like best the life on
their 22,000-acre ranch near Flagstaff,
Arizona. With a weeping willow in the front
yard, mauve cliffs in the background, and
1,200 cattle, the ranch reminds Frye of his
Texas boyhood. When international routes are
settled, Frye would like to take less active part
in T.W.A., and spend more time at the ranch."
First time ever I have seen in print that Frye
indicated a desire to semi-retire from TWA.
This web page addresses the 120-acre "Cross Creek Ranch" (Estates) portion of the original
Frye Ranch holdings as a continuation of the Frye ownership documented on Page 1952. The
narration below is a comprehensive and detailed overview of this former Frye Ranch parcel with
the documentation being explored via the Leenhouts association. The Leenhouts were in
essence the last full time residents of the property from (1951-1971) commencing 4-years after
the Frye sale. This property has been enriched with the association of many different parties
throughout the years and is beloved by many families.
The Frye Deer-Lick main house (one of three on-site residences) with nearby small barn in
1945. On the right rear of the stone main house is what appears to be a white framed addition
or perhaps the edge of the assistant ranch foreman's residence (long since demolished).
The Frye Deer Lick Ranch Becomes Beloved 'Cross Creek Ranch'
(Click On Any Image For Enlargement)
The Leenhouts Era- 1951 to 1971
A Family's Loving Memories of Cross Creek Ranch
Still Passionate After 57 years!
Pristine and Fragile Sacred Lands
Helen took great delight in landscaping around the Deer Lick Ranch buildings with flowers,
shrubs, and trees (according to ranch foreman Roy Kurtz). During the time Jack and Helen
owned Deer-Lick Ranch, the property was well-maintained, upgraded, and renovated. The
property housed two ranch foreman families at one time. This timeframe was before Jack and
Helen were able to initiate the Indian ruin designed House of Apache Fires (although this home
was planned from the beginning- 1941).
Brief Overview- On July 31, 1947 Jack and Helen Frye sold a small parcel of their Sedona
holdings. The deal closed and recorded on February 9, 1948. This (120 acre) Deer Lick Ranch
portion transferred to Albert E. and Frances A. Burhop of Chicago Illinois. The Burhops shortly
thereafter sold the ranch to Willis Leenhouts by 1951. It was Willis (Bill) Leenhouts who
re-named the former Frye property "Cross Creek Ranch". (This name represented exactly
what it implied). On September 10, 1971, the ranch was sold yet again, this time to Hal and
Jane Maloney. It was said the Maloneys never really lived on the property but rather used it to
run their horses. However, they did make many changes to the property. Finally, the ranch was
sold one last time to the current multi-million dollar housing development, d.b.a. Cross Creek
Interestingly, Jack and Helen Frye did not sell the property without some ironclad restrictions.
This was likely in regard to the Fryes owning so much adjoining property and their deep respect
for the integrity of the parcel and preservation thereof. Please see the wording from the sale as
Frye Ranch Sale Restrictions Recorded To Pass With Deed (1947)
"Sale subject to the following restrictions and reservations:
That the above described premises shall not be divided or subdivided into more than two tracts,
that said premises shall not be used for commercial purposes other than agricultural purposes,
and no building shall be constructed thereon except of native stone or wood. Said restrictions
continue for twenty-five years from the date of this deed.
Helen Varner Frye"
(This above wording is an exact quote from the sale of Frye property that was eventually to
become Cross Creek Ranch Estates. This Frye restriction passed with property until July 31,
1971 when it expired). This is why the Leenhouts sold the ranch on this date.
According to one of Helen's friends, Mrs. Frye would never approve of the blatant
over-development of her and Jack's former ranch property. Helen Frye, at the onset of the Cup
of Gold development, had the Frye ranch property evaluated by students from Frank Lloyd
Wright's Taliesin West. An indepth survey of the land revealed, not only where building sites
should be implemented, but as well, an evaluation that minimal development was all the fragile
property could ever sustain. After Cup of Gold was developed under Helen Frye's loving
direction it was later over-developed in complete disregard of her intent. This grieved her
greatly as Jack and Helen Frye both considered all their Sedona holdings pristine and sacred
throughout their lives. Both yearned to be a continual part of the property certainly their spirits
will forever be an intimate part of the essence of this beautiful Sedona Oak Creek region.
Former Frye Ranch house as seen in 1951.
Leenhouts family outside the Armijo
homestead sun-porch as added by the Fryes.
To the left is a nice image of the Cross Creek
Ranch mascot "Molly" who appears to have
recently become a mother. Above is Willis
Leenhouts with a background image of the
ranch house sun-porch (facing north).
This Narrative Continues From Page 1952
To the left is the Cross Creek Ranch entrance
mailbox as erected by the Leenhouts. Above is
the only known photo of the neighboring
Smoke Trail Ranch mailbox as designed by the
Fryes. In the earliest days the Fryes were so
intent on privacy that there was no mailbox at
all. To this end there was no marker of any kind at the entrance to the Frye Ranch. Helen Frye
in 1946, by letter to her architect, explained that the only marker was a coffee can (for mail)
nailed to a tree. This is the way the Fryes liked it- only invited guests and no reporters.
The Frye main ranch house at Deer-Lick as it appeared in 1951 just 5 years after the Fryes sold
the property in 1947. The Leenhouts purchased the ranch from the Burhops in 1951. The house
reflects all renovations completed by the Fryes in the 1940's and it is not thought anyone else
had altered the structure at this time (1951). The little garage (left) burned in the 1970's and
was rebuilt with the original footprint and materials; however, the entrance was reversed (front
to back). Its actual age is not known. The scene above displays the Armijo homestead from the
rear with sun-porch. The homes front entrance is on the other side (south). The house was built
by the Armijo family at the turn of the century and is said to have partially burned in the
mid-20's (upper section). The house originally was 2-story but was rebuilt by the Armijos in 1927
to reflect its current expression. Both the Fryes and the Leenhouts undertook extensive
renovations on the house during their ownership. The garage may be a Frye addition.
Cross Creek Ranch in Snapshots- Thanks to the Leenhouts Family
In this work I try to stay focused on history 'as associated' with the Fryes. That said; however,
the Fryes left very little photos of their ownership years of the Cross Creek property. But the
the Leenhouts have retained a rich photographic overview of the 20-years they owned the ranch
(commencing just 4-years after the Fryes sold the property). Because of this (on this page) I am
utilizing the Leenhouts images to fill the historic void of the ranch property history. The
Leenhouts and the Fryes were close friends and neighbors- so this is certainly apropos! Many
thanks to Mille Leenhouts who graciously and generously shared her photo albums and
encouraged me to use whatever I desired! The Leenhouts saga with Cross Creek was filled with
rich love of the property and family. They were the last owners to live full-time at the ranch
before it was developed into Cross Creek Ranch Estates- their time cannot be overlooked!
Above (left) the Armijo Homestead summer of
1958 and (above) is the little garage near the
main house, with Willis Leenhouts standing,
by entrance which faces north. This has been
reversed currently to face south. To the (right)
a nice color image of the Armijo house from
the 1950's with Pug Leenhouts (left) and
Willis (right). Below (left) a 1965 Leenhouts
party inside the Armijo house with Helen Frye
(right), Cecil Lockhart-Smith (left), Margaret
Leenhouts is at the table (left side). The image
to the below (right) is (left to right) Bill
Leenhouts followed by Nassan Gobran and
Cecil Lockhart-Smith with Pug Leenhouts (far
right). The Redhead is unidentified.
I wanted to include these crisp images of Margaret Leenhouts, because one, they have never
been seen by the public, and two, they were taken at the Apache Fires House at Smoke Trail
Ranch. The photographer? I would bet 'dollars to donuts' it was Helen Frye! The horses were
some of Helen's horses, just a few of many she kept at her ranch for herself and guests. 1955?
To the (right) is a wonderful scene of Verde
Valley School with Cathedral Rock backdrop.
Above, is a continuation of the Verde Valley School photo, above. I interpret the picture to be
an outing for students. The location is obvious- Monument Valley. Bill (Willis) Leenhouts was a
teacher at Verde Valley School, and also an attorney. He and his wife were among the original
founders of the Sedona Arts Center, too. To the (right) is a nice picture of the Leenhouts at
uptown Sedona in the early 1950's. Interesting is Bob Bradshaw's Film building (left) in frame.
The Former Ranch Bunkhouse- Now a Quaint 1940's Guest House
What is the history of this historically significant Sedona structure? This has been difficult to
document what with limited information. Mille Leenhouts stated to me "what you see (photos)
was what was there when my in-laws bought the property in 1951." (The Leenhouts did not
update or change much on the ranch). The Burhops owned the property previously from
summer 1947 to 1951 so they likely did little to the ranch as they lived back east a majority of
the time. Research shows this building at one time was thought to be a large 2-room bunkhouse
(possibly also a stable) with outdoor shower likely erected in the 20's or earlier by the Armijos.
The Fryes did a lot of major renovations on the ranch in the 1940's. They built a small guest
house on Smoke Trail Ranch (long since torn down) and a new bunkhouse nearby. They
renovated the Willow House, Armijo Ranch House, and nearby out buildings. They used the
Armijo ranch house for guests in between ranch foremen families which resided there in the
1940's. It has been said Helen, when she was at the ranch alone (without Jack), preferred to
stay at Deer-Lick (in the early days) at a barn-like building which had a fireplace. She was said
to have enjoyed the fireplace in the winters. Possibly, she liked to be near the ranch family (at
the Armijo homestead) at the isolated ranch. The house above was likely the very dwelling she
utilized perhaps even before it was renovated. By the mid-1940's Helen had renovated the
building into a charming guest house, and on at least one occasion, Howard Hughes likely
stayed there (see Page 1942). The 1940's style interior featured a heat-a-lator sandstone
fireplace and up-to-date interior with kitchen and bedrooms. It was graced with verandas front
and back. The house sits across from the clearing from the Armijo homestead. There is a
rubble pile on the hill behind the house possibly from renovations of the 1940's or 1970's.
The Guest House in our current time frame has a second story sleeping loft and lower living
room with adjoining kitchen which presumably was added in 1974 or so by a caretaker working
for Harold and Jane Maloney. Although tax records show there was another renovation in 1962
these renovations are not reflected in any photos. The former living room and fireplace as
shown above at Christmas are now a front bedroom. The terrace and back veranda areas remain
the same; however, the green lawns and landscaping are long gone. The charm and historic
beauty of this cottage was tragically violated when the second-story addition was added by the
Maloneys. What were they thinking? The interior is a now a hodgepodge of expansion.
The photos aside show the charm of the small
cottage which the Leenhouts called the "guest
house" and rented out to summer visitors.
Above is Thomas Leenhouts- home from college (12-25-1951). Notice the 1951 beer stein in his
hand and the stylish brick fireplace on the right. You can be assured the interior is a mirror of
the Frye era rebuild. Notice the robin-egg blue paint with sun-yellow kitchen. The "cactus
pattern" drapes are apropos and I always thought they looked like they were professionally
fitted. Currently (2008) the interior has been altered. This room is the same but the kitchen
has been moved to a new east addition. The Leenhouts lived here for the first year (1951) after
which they resided permanently at the Armijo homestead until 1971.
The Armijo Homestead and the nearby "guest house" show beautifully in these snowy images.
Who says it never snows in Sedona? These images date to the 1970's (after Leenhouts era).
The "Guest House" in 2008
The Cross Creek Ranch "Guest House" (rear) as it appeared in 2008. I have not been able to
positively say that the Fryes renovated this old pioneer bunkhouse into a quaint guest house
but all indications of its origins seem to point to this end. The only other party who could have
had any involvement with this cottage were the Burhops and it is highly unlikely they would
have invested money to renovate this building when they owned the property such a short time.
The "Guest House" Hides a Secret!
In the early days of Sedona, pioneers used
readily available materials to build homes and
structures. Evident and tragic is the ancient
sandstone blocks used to build the rear wall of
this guest house. I immediately noticed some
were graced with petroglyphs. This means one
thing- somewhere close to the ranch perhaps
down along the creek someone at the turn of
the century found a site with easily removed
petroglph rocks and brought them up to Cross
Creek as building materials. I would not be a
bit surprised if the Armijo homestead has such
etched stones too. Early Sedona pioneers, for
the most part, had little concern for sacred
Native American sites- (ruins or petroglphs).
Petroglph Building Materials
The guest house fireplace (above right) consists of beautiful sandstone and is a calling card of
1940's design also it is identical to the material used in the House of Apache Fires fireplaces. No
doubt the sandstone came from the Frye Sunshine Ranch east of Flagstaff. This is where all the
Apache Fires house sandstone was quarried before it was utilized by the Fryes. The red rock
material used for the chimney (exterior) did come from the Frye ranch. Interesting, upon
inspection from the outside, it matches a fireplace chimney the Fryes built at the Willow House.
In 2006 the Armijo Homestead was being completely renovated by new owners. It stands today
as one of Sedona's most outstanding examples of turn of the century architecture, let alone its
historical significance. The owner (Jake Weber) is one of Sedona's most outstanding business
men and a long-time resident. He has completed a remarkable restoration on this charming
historic home. (Images above were taken during the renovation of the Armijo structure.)
The charm above has another interesting
story. It, of course, is a Sagittarius zodiac (the
archer) for Helen who was born on November
28 inscribed "To Helen With Love- Jack".
From Jack With Love
Jack Frye showered Helen with many gifts to include furs, jewelery, and even gold charms for
her charm bracelet. The one above a 14k gold Saint Christopher metal (patron saint of travel)
inscribed "To Helen with love always Jack- Xmas 1949". Neither Jack nor Helen were Catholic.
It is not known when it was given to Helen. The intriguing angle to this charm is that it was
found near Cross Creek Ranch on Cup of Gold property by the Leenhouts family. How did it
end up lost and lying in the red dirt near their home? Was it really lost by Helen and Jack while
riding their former property? Before you go out and buy a metal detector and start searching
the former Frye ranch for lost golden trinkets you may want to hear the rest of the story. Helen
never lost this 14k gold piece. She had it in her possession up until the 1970's. At that time she
gave it to her dear friend Rosie Targhetta Armijo because Rosie often wore a charm bracelet
which Helen admired. However, Rosie found that the charm was too big for her charm bracelet
so she instead wore it on a gold chain that a friend gave her. One day, after Helen died, Rosie
was walking her property (a lot) near the Leenhouts home and also had visited Helen's former
home (the Wings of the Wind). With panic, she realized the charm had slipped off her neck
with the chain. She searched in vain and had thought she had lost it at the Wings of the Wind
house. Later she went back to the Wings house and told the Eckankar caretaker she had lost
this special gift. The man answered the door wearing her chain but said he had found nothing!
Heartsick that he had found the chain and wouldn't return it, Rosie gave up on the search.
Finally, after all these years of regret, she was amazed when I was able to solve the mystery,
relating the Leenhouts had found Helen's charm. Rosie feels that the charm slipped off first,
and then the chain fell off later at the Wings. The conclusion, finders keepers, what is lost is
now found and the beautiful inscribed treasure from Jack to Helen lives on safe and secure.
Jesse James Elmer with Bill Leenhouts at the old Cross Creek Ranch cabin which was built in
1886 (according to writing on the slide). Notice the sandstone slabs (from the Frye Sunshine
Ranch) which were likely left by the Fryes from construction projects. Image (1951).
Above (right) is Frye Ranch foreman Walter Duncan (possibly his nephew from Crescent Moon
Ranch) assisting with a roundup at Cross Creek Ranch. The horse (right) is a Smoke Trail
Ranch horse. Walter helped out often at Cross Creek as he was a full time foreman who
worked for Helen Frye next door for nearly 20-years. These images appear to have been taken
in the lower meadow north of Cross Creek Ranch Estates between the creek and the Frye
Smoke Trail Ranch. Photos are from the 1960's.
The building to the left has now been
demolished but it is thought that it dated to
the Frye area (used by the Leenhouts as a
chicken coup). The Leenhouts raised sheep at
the ranch whereas the Fryes ran other stock.
The images above are a beautiful reflection of the tranquility of the irrigated Cross Creek
Ranch taken right before the Leenhouts sold the property in 1971. They had to wait out the
20-year land-use restrictions by the Fryes which limited development of the property.
The Leenhouts constructed a new pond below
the main house of the ranch (above) 1955.
This new pond was in a sunken meadow area between the creek and the ranch buildings and can
still be found today as a dry drainage area of Cross Creek Ranch Estates. Whereas the Fryes
had another large holding pond above the Armijo homestead to the northeast. It was much less
scenic and much more utilitarian (see Page 1952).
Dave Leenhouts navigates the pond- fall 1967.
An old fashioned cowboy cookout, either Cross Creek or Crescent Moon Ranch, at Sedona.
From left to right, unidentified lady, Lois Kellogg Duncan, Eugenia "Gee" Wright, Aileen
Schnur (wife of prominent Sedona doctor Leo Schnur), Bill "Willis" Leenhouts, unidentified
man, and Nick Duncan (Lois Duncan's husband), who appears to be narrating an entertaining
old west story. A classic early Sedona image from the early 1950's. Lois Duncan owned Crescent
Moon Ranch now evolved into Crescent Moon Recreational Area along with her husband Nick
Duncan. Lois Kellogg was one of Sedona's most well-connected residents. Her grandfather was
Spencer Kellogg Sr., who founded Spencer Kellogg and Sons Inc., the largest supplier of boiled
linseed oil in the U.S., based at Buffalo New York, on Lake Erie. Courtesy of Mille Leenhouts.
The famous historic Armijo irrigation ditch which traverses Smoke Trail Ranch and Cross
Creek Ranch. With much tenacity this ditch has been maintained by a multitude of landowners
to include the Fryes and Leenhouts. Shown is Bill Leenhouts in the early 1950's.
Access to the Cross Creek Ranch is improved
by this renovated footbridge which was
constructed by the Leenhouts family. The
Fryes also had a suspension bridge for access
in the 1940's according to Hazel York (Frye
Ranch manager 1942-1945). There were many
times when the low-water crossing could not
be utilized due to high water. The new walking
bridge shown (left) is thought to be a rebuild
of the original Frye bridge after the Leenhouts
overhauled it and replaced the decking and
super structure. Photo from the 1960's.
Former Frye Ranch House and Leenhouts Home as Seen in 2008
To the (right) is Bill Leenhouts and Walter
Duncan at perhaps Montezuma Castle?
Entrance To Cross Creek and Frye Ranches
Cross Creek Ranch Main Ranch House
In and Around the Ranch
Potlucks With Friends and Neighbors
Closest Neighbor and Best Friend was Helen Frye
Verde Valley School- Fond Friendship With Leenhouts and Frye
Two Old Historic Cabins on Cross Creek
Sedona Roundup With a Little Help From the Frye Ranch
From Cattle to Sheep
Oak Creek Valley Vistas
Picturesque Pond Graces Cross Creek
Classic Sedona- Nightime Campfire- Cowboy Coffee & Tall Tales
Bill Leenhouts Walks in Footsteps of Jack Frye along Ditch
Access To Ranch Via Swinging Bridge- But is it High Enough?
If you have never seen Oak Creek overflow
just look to the right. The photo shows the
swinging bridge (above) now inundated by high
water after massive rain storms. What you see
is the bottom decking of the swinging bridge
flipped by the waters force. (1970's).
Low Water Crossing to the Former Frye Ranch
Access to Cross Creek Ranch was always at this location- but ingress is greatly improved by the
Leenhouts by adding this new concrete apron. Cross Creek Ranch came with high maintenance.
Golden Memories of a Beautiful Love Story
Snow Cloaks Cross Creek
At the east edge of the old crossing is this old
building- perhaps a pump house? Judging by
its construction I would say it is likely from
the Frye era. The swinging bridge? It no
longer exists- the original concrete anchor
footing of the bridge is displayed (right) if one
didn't know the property history the ruins
would be a mystery. Images from 2008.
This Same Meadow as it Appears in 2008
The House of Apache Fires looks down on the
former Frye Ranch and Cross Creek meadows
and an abandoned hay rake apparatus. (2008)
Mrs. Jack Frye (above) as seen riding at the famous picturesque Beaver Creek Guest Ranch,
winter of 1948, from color slide taken by Bill Leenhouts. This property near Rimrock Arizona,
and also close to the Frye Ranch and the Village of Oak Creek, is now a private boarding school
called Southwest Academy on the east side of Wet Beaver Creek off the I-17 exit to Sedona.
The property has been a satellite location of the San Marino Academy since the early 1960’s;
however, it was a popular Hollywood get-a-way for celebrities at one point. In front of the
guesthouse (right) is what looks like a black 1948 Lincoln Continental (better clarity on
original 1948 slide). It is not known whether Helen Frye was staying here or just visiting friends
who were guests. The gentleman with fedora (behind Helen) is unidentified. I will wager that
this was one of the times Helen was in Sedona without her husband Jack and had met friends at
the ranch for lunch and a day of riding. Jack was at this time President and CEO of General
Aniline and Film Corporation (Ansco GAF) in New York City, with office at 230 Park Avenue.
This position which Frye held for 7 years (starting in ’47) left him limited time to stay at he and
Helen’s Sedona ranch (now Red Rock State Park). This color image is captured from an original
slide taken by Bill Leenhouts. The Leenhouts bought the adjoining section of the Frye Ranch
holdings called Deer-Lick in '51. Bill happened to be out to Beaver Creek in '48 and spotted
Mrs. Frye snapping her photo. At the time he likely did not know her personally, only as a local
celebrity and wife of Jack Frye.
Slide caption: "Mrs. Jack Frye- Beaver Creek Guest Ranch 1948"
These before and after photo(s) show us that even though the property is now a private
boarding school, surprisingly, it still looks much the same. The main office (center) is not
evident in the 1948 slide, perhaps it has been enlarged through the years or the building seen
behind Helen Frye is actually the guest house, which still sits behind the office, adjoining the
creek. The guest cabin (duplex) to the right is still there, actually though it is one of several
similar along the creek. The Italian Cypress (pencil pines) are still evident today and I was told
by Jack Leyden of Southwest Academy that there are actually five. They were planted to
represent the 5 original ranchers of this early Beaver Creek region. The area where Mrs. Frye
sits on her horse was at one time a corral and staging area, now all verdant lawn, fringed by a
picturesque little stream, all resting at the edge of the entry road. Please click on files for
larger images. Today access is rugged, at a mile and half of unpaved rural Arizona road;
however, this adds to the charm and history of this beautiful 180-acre, and one time private
ranch of William Larimer (Larry) Mellon, Jr. family. This ranch was also the Hollywood get-a-
way called “Beaver Creek Guest Ranch” after Mellon sold in about ‘47. "Beaver Creek Guest
Ranch" was notated on the slide of Helen Frye; however, the actual dates the property was held
by different parties has been difficult to nail down.
As an entrepreneur real estate developer,
Helen Varner Frye with partner Nassan
Gobran, and other associates, developed a
small portion of the Frye Smoke Trail Ranch
into the beautiful "Cup of Gold" estates.
Envisioned and planned for all homeowners to
have unfettered access to Oak Creek, the
development was a Sedona real estate success
The image aside shows a mock up (with model)
of the projected Cup of Gold development
(1954). Cup of Gold was at that time one of the
most scenic developments in Sedona. The
property utilized was part of the original Jack
and Helen Frye Ranch holdings at Sedona.
In 1954, Helen Frye, with Nassan Gobran as her business partner, decided to develop a portion
of the Frye Smoke Trail Ranch. Helen decided to call the new development 'Cup d' Oro', a
girlfriend of Helen's envisioned the name. The first home built at 'Cup of Gold' was completed
in 1955 and christened 'Cradle of the Sun.' This area (aptly named) is now peppered with
palatial multi-million dollar homes. Many have spacious waterfront access, others enjoy deeded
creek access. The housing development is one of the most spectacularly beautiful of all Sedona.
It sits high above and at the level of the green ribbon of Oak Creek, adjoining Cross Creek
Ranch, the House of Apache Fires, and the former Frye Smoke Trail Ranch.
Beautiful Cup Of Gold
A portion of the former
Frye Deer Lick becomes
Helen Varner Frye's
The Cup of Gold in 1954
One of the original sign posts of Cup of Gold (left) a stark reminder of when Sedona was just
starting its journey to the top of one the nation's most valuable real estate markets.
Sedona's 1st Doctor- Helen Frye was a Country Doctor's Daughter
Original Letter to the Editor, by Helen Frye to Red Rock News (1958)
We who've lived in the Canyon seventeen years, or more, and shared that doctorless period
with earlier settlers, know and appreciate the fact that there is a doctor in the Canyon. We
haven't forgotten the days when a member of our family could go down with a bad case of
pneumonia, or the kitchen stove blow up and change your cook's face to a mass of burning
flesh, and not a doctor to be had for love or money. All you could do was load the dangerously ill
onto the bed of a pickup, and head for Cottonwood some twenty miles away, and hope your
patient would survive the exposure.
That was the best you could do unless you happened to know about Dr. Leo Schnur, some
hundred and thirty three miles away from your home. He was the M.D. at the Grand Canyon
Hospital, a human being with the meaning of his profession most predominate in his heart. If
you could reach him by phone, Dr Leo would set a speed record between his office there and
your country bedside, regardless of weather, high water, or muddy roads.
Sedona is happy and proud Dr. Leo and his wondrous assistant and registered nurse, who
happens to be his wife and the mother of his children, now lives among us. His clinic and ability
equals the best in the east and the west. We, of Sedona, are fortunate to have them.
Signed: Helen Varner Frye
“My folks moved to Sedona about the time Helen and Jack did, and Helen was a good friend of
my mother. My dad, Leo Schnur, M.D., was the doctor Helen spoke about when she wrote how
great it was to have a doctor in Sedona. Leo Schnur was the first permanent doctor at Sedona
Arizona. My parents built their home (which we still have) in Oak Creek Canyon.
Elmer Purtymun built our house. I believe he may have been building the House of the Apache
Fires at about the same time. The two houses have much in common, i.e., the red rock exterior.
Our home is called Bedside Manor and was under construction in 1946.
My father Leo Schnur practiced medicine at the Grand Canyon, until 1954. We spent the
summers in Oak Creek Canyon, from 1946 until 1954. In 1954, my father Leo, and my mother
Aileen, moved permanently to Oak Creek Canyon. It was then, my father bought property and
built his office "Oak Creek Medical and Dental Clinic" on Jordan Road.
During this period I was away in the winters at high school and college. Even though I was very
young at the time, and off to boarding school, I remember many times going to Helen's house
with my folks for parties. I would go along so I could play her slot machine and fish in the
creek below her house.
Helen Frye had a 25-cent slot machine accompanied by a bag of quarters. It was the usual Las
Vegas-style slot machine, that paid out what they usually pay, but I would spend a long time
putting the entire bag of quarters into the machine. Usually, during the party, I would go down
to the creek and fish for catfish, and sometimes, when my folks would go home, I would stay
and fish most of the night. There were catfish in the creek below the House of Apache Fires.
We lived on Oak Creek, up in the Canyon, so we fished for trout in our part of the creek. The
House of Apache Fires was farther down the creek and the water was warmer so there were
catfish present. They bite better after dark so this is why I would go down to the creek at
Helen’s and fish a good part of the night. When I got tired, I would go up to the House of
Apache Fires and go to sleep in the guest bedroom, at which, my mother would come get me the
next day. This was after Jack left so I never got to meet Mr. Frye. I wish I had, as later, I
became a private pilot with great interest in aviation.”
Notation: Paul stated further, that his father owned Red Rock Crossing (at one time) and that
he remembers catching catfish there as well. There were also small mouth bass in the section of
Oak Creek where Crescent Moon Recreational Area is found today. Leo and Paul enjoyed
fishing together, often, at Bedside Manner, and in the canyon, where they caught only rainbow
and German brown trout. This is why Paul remembers the small mouth bass and catfish which
were found in lower Oak Creek, as they were not found in the canyon.
Paul Schnur, M.D. son of Leo and Aileen
(formulated from correspondence with Paul Schnur)
A Boy's Memories Of Early Sedona