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
"Wings of the Wind House"
The Frye Ranch- Sedona Arizona
The Wings of the Wind house at one time rested on 32.50 acres of some of Sedona's most
valuable real estate. The parcel adjoined the 700-acre Frye Ranch and was the result of a land
trade initiated by Jack Frye. The trade was passed to Helen Frye in her divorce from Jack and
finalized on April 9 1952. Subsequent land sales have reduced the thirty two acre parcel to a
little over 12 acres today.
The estate is part of the gated development called Smoke Trail Ranch estates, very inaccessible,
only reached by a long winding road. The Wings of the Wind house has a new separate private
entry gate of its own.
The low hacienda-like home overlooks the valley on 4 sides and lords over the original Frye
Smoke Trail Ranch (now Red Rock State Park) as does the House of Apache Fires. The
architect of the Wings of the Wind house was most assuredly Helen Frye. Although this
information has been lost through the years. Helen was heard to say "the Wings of the Wind
house was not ideally designed as it was integrated into the contour of the natural red rock
outcrops of the building site."
Although the contractor too was previously unknown, research has uncovered some new
information. Sedona contractor Bill Herrick was the builder. The home also was intended to be
two stories but in the end was left at one level. All the electrical work was done by Bill
Blanchard. As far as memories of the project by the two parties, Blanchard remembers Helen
Frye and Nassan Gobran (at times) having a “hands on” approach to the construction with
Helen being quite particular and having the workers tear out and redo anything that she was
not happy with or changed her mind on. "There was a lot of that-- going on," said Blanchard
with a laugh! The interior featured many unusual elements such as a natural red rock ledge
sofa with pale yellow leather cushions.
As with the Apache Fires house (designed in part by Santa Fe's John Gaw Meem) Helen Frye
used her innate ingenuity to design many unique features as well for the Wings of the Wind.
For instance, built-in planter sitting areas with water spigots for easy watering.
Access was never favorable in light of Red Rock Loop Road being unpaved at the entrance to
the property; however, this element insured privacy. The dwelling rests on one of the best knoll
view sites in Sedona. Much of what one observes from the grand picture windows of this house
were once the exclusive domain (property) vistas of Jack and Helen Frye.
Million dollar Sedona views were enjoyed by Helen Frye for nearly 40 years from her two
Smoke Trail Ranch homes. From the Wings of the Wind to the north, is spectacular Oak
Creek Canyon, to the northeast is Cathedral Rock and Sky Mountain, and to the southeast you
can see almost to Helen's third home called, Sky Fires House, at the Ridge, in the Village of
Oak Creek. To the south is Red Rock State Park, Oak Creek, the House of Apache Fires,
Cross Creek Ranch (formerly Jack and Helen Frye's Deer-Lick Ranch)- see Page 1952, and
Helen's Cup of Gold Estates. Beyond that is Eagle Mountain Estates.
If the Frye Smoke Trail Ranch had remained entirely intact throughout the years it would now
be worth well over 350 million dollars! Absolutely mind boggling! The parcel of land on which
the Wings of the Wind rests was not part of Jack and Helen's original 700 acre Smoke Trail
Ranch or Deer-Lick Ranch. According to county records and a June 1974 Red Rock News article
we learn the following-- the property was the result of an impending Forest Service land trade
with the Frye Sunshine Ranch setup by Jack Frye before he and Helen divorced. This parcel is
where Helen eventually built the Wings of Wind in the 1961-1962 time frame.
At the time Helen Frye related the house was named in regard to the thermos of the valley
which carried soaring birds. Helen also stated the name "Smoke Trail Ranch" was derived from
the old Indian trail adjoining Oak Creek on the Frye Ranch (below). "You can still see
evidences of their campfires and find artifacts," Helen stated at the time.
This Frye home was decorated with rare and priceless Native American art objects, some gifts
from the Hopi People to this remarkable woman, which they adored. Helen Frye was invited to
attend many Native American ceremonies, many of which were never open to the general
public. In turn, the Hopi, Yavapai and Navajo were often entertained at the Frye Ranch through
the years from 1941 on.
A little known fact in regard to this is that Mrs. Jack Frye would drive up to Flagstaff and meet
the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe trains regularly which transported bundles of clothes to a
resale shop in downtown Flagstaff. Helen would sort through the bales after they were unloaded
on the dock picking out only the most substantial garments. Mrs. Frye would then purchase the
warm woolen dresses and sweaters etc., anything that would be durable mesa clothing. Then
Helen would take the clothes up to the reservations herself, distributing them to the Native
Americans Indians so they could stay warm in the cold Arizona winters. Helen was always
trying to help those who were neighbors and friends. This continued throughout her years at
the Wings of the Wind. At the Wings Mrs. Frye always kept a pot of soup simmering on a back
burner as Native Americans would often knock on her door asking for a meal. Helen Frye was
revered by the local Indians, especially the Hopis, this seems somewhat of a mystery perhaps,
but they sought her out with love, friendship, and communion, and saw her as a mystic. The
Frye Ranch and the Wings home was an “open door” for these indigenous peoples. This
“reaching out” trait of Helen is honorable and a fact the people of Sedona could well be proud of!
The decor of the Wings home was a combination of furnishings from Helen and Jack's Apache
Fire's house, their Merriam Kansas estate, and the famous Washington D.C. estate (the
Doubleday Mansion). As observed by a Frye intimate, "I was amazed to see priceless original
masters rarely seen outside of national art museums hanging on the walls of their homes."
This was attributed to Jack and Helen Frye their entire lives being avid art patrons. As well it is
likely Helen was influenced by her aunt (by marriage) Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (Mrs.
Harry Payne Whitney) founder of the famous Whitney Museum in New York City. Only a
small score of these art works can be identified today. Helen Vanderbilt Frye was a canvas
artist, sculptor, writer, magazine-illustrator, and very good fashion designer, who also helped
launch the Sedona Art's Center. Helen and Jack's life in Sedona can be summed up as "ranch
life" it was not desired to be reflective of the glamorous life they led in N.Y.C. and Wash. D.C.
Helen Frye at the Wings in 1968. The car
behind her is a beautiful, nearly new, 1967
Chrysler New Yorker, 2 door coupe, which
belonged to her friend Clyde Munn. Being an
old car buff and having driven a Newport of
similar vintage, I can assure you, that Chrysler
in 1967 was at the top of their game not to
mention a rare and exquisite image of Helen.
The Lost Weekend- Rediscovered
Some 40-Years Later!
The Quintessential Helen Frye
As was typical at Helen Frye's home- some
friends dropped up for a visit. This group was
associated with the A.R.E. in Scottsdale. Then,
per chance, a group of outgoing strangers
happened by the ranch while sightseeing!
As I interview people for this work, I have come to realize that Helen Frye WAS truly a legend!
Mysterious, wonderful, and never forgotten by the people whose lives she touched! This is truly
"her" Sedona Legacy some 25 years later! The "Lost Weekend Photos" are courtesy of Clyde
Munn who considers himself honored to have been welcomed into the World of Helen Frye and
the wonder of Sedona and Smoke Trail Ranch. He never forgot his trips to the ranch or Helen!
The beautiful interior of Wings of the Wind is displayed vibrantly with these two photographs,
captured during the filming of "Wilderness Road". The actors from (left to right) Ned Romero,
Monika Ramirez (sometimes billed as Monica Ramierez), and Ms. Lenka Peterson. (Right) is a
young actor named Luke but no other identification. Helen Frye likely took these images.
Seen (above) the sound man is adjusting Luke's microphone. The actor in the background
(right) although familiar looking is unknown. This television show has all but disappeared today.
Wings Interior- 1969 Television Show- 'Wilderness Road'
Photos precious, owned by a once young man,
now at 75, who resided out the country most of
his life. When the destruction of Hurricane
Hugo erased the memories of so many this
one album was found in the ruins. Among it's
tattered pages these images somehow survived
establishing their provenance with Helen Frye.
A miracle and a reminder of a "Lost Weekend" at Helen Frye's Wings of the Wind. A group of
young people, all kindred spirits, taking time out amid the turbulent sixties for friendship and
communion. Names elusive, but the experience not! Casual photographs truly worth a thousand
words now etched in time! The true essence of Helen Frye and her Wings of the Wind at Sedona.
As was Helen's nature all were invited to stay at
the ranch for a long weekend of swimming,
riding horses and southwestern hospitality.
Remembered now is a "lost weekend" of a long
Wings of the Wind September '68
(Left to right) Betty Nissen, Helen Varner
Frye, George Emery, & Clyde Munn, at Wings.
The south side of the Wings of Wind House as captured by Sedona Legend a few years ago. For
the first time since Helen Frye passed away in 1979, this home, which remained virtually
unchanged for 25-some years, is now under new ownership and is being thoughtfully renovated.
Wings of the Wind 1963-1979
Helen Frye with her god-child Elisa in the Wings living room (left) 1965 and to the (right) 1967.
The Wings of the Wind seen shortly after completion in 1963 from Red Rock Loop Road (north).
The Wings built-in yellow cushioned sofa- each side is supported by rock ledges of the build site.
Above and below- several years later, in 1967, the built-in planters are filled in with green. The
floors were polished concrete and painstakingly hand painted by Helen Frye to simulate marble.
To the (right) the Wings of the Wind guest bedroom. The house was not large- just 2 bedrooms,
2 baths, and 3 fireplaces, but the building site and terraces made the structure a showplace!
Above is the master bedroom of the Wings
(Helen's room). As in the House of Apache
Fires, there was a swinging bed to the right.
Helen preferred this, as when she was younger
and traveled on planes with Jack Frye and TWA it was the only way she could sleep. Helen
preferred the gentle swaying effect. To the (right) Helen with her god-child (in 1967) on a
built-in sitting ledge. The Wings was built around many natural outcrops of the building site.
To the (left) Helen is saying goodbye to
weekend visitors. From left to right, Romona,
Helen Frye, and Rosie Armijo (who met Helen
and her husband Jack in the late 1940's while
still in high school). Rosie remained close to
Helen and visited the Sedona Ranch whenever
possible. Below, Helen on the Wings telephone.
Helen Frye with her god-child Elisa and Albuquerque artist Doris Steider walking up to the
Wings of the Wind from a refreshing swim down at Oak Creek. Image from September 1967.
Above (left) the Smoke Trail Ranch foreman Walter Duncan leads Elisa and her horse out of
the Wings of the Wind stables which still adjoins the house today. There were actually several
stables on the property, with another being down below near the Willow House where Walter
and his wife lived, and another corral at the Apache Fires House. In the image (right) Walter
leads Elisa along the Wings drive. Both these images were captured in September of 1967.
Recreation at the Wings- Swimming & Riding
(Above) Walter and Elisa are shown with a very gentle horse at the Wings of the Wind estate.
Above (left) we see Helen Frye in front of her home "the Wings of the Wind". To the (right) is
Walter and Elisa. We can thank Rosie Targhetta Armijo for the majority of these images of
Helen and the Wings. Since 99 percent of Helen's personal photos were absconded with after her
death it has been very difficult to come up with any kind of photographic representation of the
Wings and Smoke Trail Ranch. Thank goodness Rosie visited the ranch and Helen so often
through the years (a get-a-way for her from Albuquerque) and she has been so generous with
the photos she captured on these visits. Without Rosie, Helen's visual would be lost forever.
Elisa takes time to relax at the Wings.
ago adventure of bonding and communion with a marvelous cook and a fascinating woman
named Helen Frye. Young lives touched by fate- creating a milestone in their early youth.