The Eichler Network recently published an article by Dave Weinstein in their CA-Modern Publication entitled “One Voice, Twin Palms”. Here’s a sample from the article:
“He had a voice that caressed, and caressed slowly. He could swing like mad, but he never rocked. Frank Sinatra — ‘the Voice,’ the 1950s’ greatest crooner, perhaps the greatest ever — was made for Palm Springs, a town that’s all about relaxing with style. Or was Palm Springs made for Frank?
Twin Palms, Frank Sinatra’s first house in the desert, became a Palm Springs landmark as soon as it was completed, Christmas 1947 — but not because it was big or spectacular. For a house of a star, the four-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house was modest, even as a weekend home. It is, in essence, a typical postwar ranch-style house, albeit more elegant and modern than most. It is also an architecturally important house as the first home designed by E. Stewart Williams, who would go on to become one of Palm Springs’ most important architects.
But what made the Sinatra house an instant landmark was the way it made use of its location, at the eastern edge of what was then a very small city, far from any other houses. A pair of Washingtonia palms alongside the pool dominated the landscape. From the air they could be spotted for miles.
“Those are the most famous palm trees in Palm Springs,” says Allen Miller, longtime Palm Springs real estate broker and modern fan who represents the home’s current owners. Looking for a pad while visiting town? You can rent Sinatra’s former digs if you’re willing to part with, say, $1,800 a night. “It’s a pretty pricey rental,” Miller admits.
Starting with a Christmas party that first year — the house was constructed using round-the-clock shifts to ensure it would be ready in time — pilots would aim for the twin palms, and deposit such guests as Bogie and Bacall, Phil Silvers, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Also by the pool stands a tall flagpole. When the flag was raised, friends in town knew they could motor out and join Frank and guests around the famous piano-shaped pool. When the flag was down they waited for it to go up.
It’s not surprising that Sinatra, with his relaxed delivery, precise diction, perfect timing, and impeccable swing, should have fallen in love with desert modernism as well as with the desert. As Miller notes of Frank, “He had really good taste. He was a sharp dresser. The guy had style, no question about it.”