Twenty-one years after the death of the legendary singer Gene Autry (famously known as “the Singing Cowboy”), his widow is loosening the reins on the couple’s Palm Springs, CA, compound.
Gene and Jackie Autry purchased the property, whose main house clocks in at almost 13,500 square feet, from the musician, director, and TV producer Glen A. Larson for $2,050,000 in 1997. Gene died a year later.
The 1927 home is listed for $8,250,000, and according to the listing agent, Louise Hampton, its unique architecture was inspired by the experience of its original owner, the meteorologist Irving Krick, from his time predicting weather conditions in Normandy, France.
While Palm Springs is celebrated for its many midcentury modern ranch-style homes, this residence is very different. Nearly all the rooms look out onto—and have access to—the courtyard.
“It really had a Moroccan flair,” says Hampton. “It was one of the few properties that had a tower, with a copper dome, like in Morocco.” The copper has since been replaced with tile.
Five bedrooms and four bathrooms are in the main house, with additional living space in an apartment attached to a three-car garage.
“Most of the original house has been kept in that same format,” says Hampton, citing the outdoor-entrance bedrooms as one example.
Jackie Autry made “major modifications and additions to the property,” says Hampton. It now has a new tennis court, a three-car garage, an outdoor kitchen, a second pool, as well as a porte-cochère (paired with a fountain and circular drive).
Rooms were also shifted around. The original living room is now the dining room, and the kitchen is in the former dining room.
Although the kitchen renovation dates to the 1990s, top-of-the-line materials were used: bird’s-eye maple cabinetry, four Viking ovens, and two Sub-Zero refrigerators. Built-in banquettes and tennis-court views make the spacious kitchen a perfect spot to hang out.
The revamped master suite includes kiva fireplaces, plus his-and-her offices. For a buyer who loves to entertain, a wine room and home theater (with a separate projection room) stand out.
The new guest suite, near the west side of the pool, can easily accommodate any overnight visitors, with its own living room and a bathroom with a soaking tub.
The property is in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood, one of Palm Springs’ oldest, which dates to the mid-1920s. The neighborhood maintains the landscaping of a shared center island and ensures that the palm trees are lit at night. Downtown Palm Springs is a short walk away.
“It’s really a beautiful compound,” says Hampton. “Jackie has been painstakingly restoring it. She’s very sensitive to the environment.”
There are solar panels on the roof, and the lawns have been replaced by artificial turf and drought-resistant plants.
Autry also added drought-tolerant plants near the garage and a citrus grove (lemon, grapefruit, and orange trees) by the tennis court.
The improvements aren’t simply aesthetic: Structural work was also done, including a new roof last year and a high-end security system.
What kind of person will move in next?
“It’s going to be a celebrity, somebody who’s really intent on privacy. It may be a family compound,” says Hampton, adding that Autry “does not want it turned into a vacation rental. She’s very sensitive to her neighbors.”
If the buyer swoons for the art and furnishings, they can be included in the deal as well. Otherwise, much of it will be donated to the Autry Museum of the American West, in Los Angeles.