A Western White House: A desert oasis of presidential power

President Barack Obama will be the ninth president to visit the historic 200-acre Rancho Mirage, Calif. estate, which was designed by A. Quincy Jones in 1961.

Click through for photos of past presidents and the magnitude of the estate's midcentury modern architecture and style, and click here to watch our interview with the director of the Sunnylands Center and Gardens.

The estate house from across one of the lakes on the golf course. (Photo by Ned Redway.)
Sunnylands
The estate house from across one of the lakes on the golf course. (Photo by Ned Redway.)
<p>The first and only president born in California, Nixon sought refuge at Sunnylands after he reisgned and again after President Gerald Ford's pardon triggered a deluge of unwanted publicity. During a 1968 meeting at Sunnylands as president-elect, Nixon asked Walter H. Annenberg to be his ambassador to Great Britiain.</p><p>Picutred is Nixon, his granddaughter Jenny Eisenhower, Leonore Annenberg and wife Pat Nixon outside the Game Room at Sunnylands in April 1979. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)</p>
Nixon at Sunnylands in 1979

The first and only president born in California, Nixon sought refuge at Sunnylands after he reisgned and again after President Gerald Ford's pardon triggered a deluge of unwanted publicity. During a 1968 meeting at Sunnylands as president-elect, Nixon asked Walter H. Annenberg to be his ambassador to Great Britiain.

Picutred is Nixon, his granddaughter Jenny Eisenhower, Leonore Annenberg and wife Pat Nixon outside the Game Room at Sunnylands in April 1979. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

<em>Bust of Diego on Stele III</em>, 1958, by Alberto Giacometti. This sculpture from the estate house has been re-installed in the Grand Hall of the new Center, which opened in 2012. (Photo by Mark Davidson.)
Sunnylands interior
Bust of Diego on Stele III, 1958, by Alberto Giacometti. This sculpture from the estate house has been re-installed in the Grand Hall of the new Center, which opened in 2012. (Photo by Mark Davidson.)
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrated New Year's Eve 18 times at Sunnylands. Ronald Reagan was a regular golfer on the estate's 18-hole course. "I played golf with President Reagan there on the 31st of December,” George P. Shultz, the former secretary of state, <a href="https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.nytimes.com%2f2012%2f01%2f24%2fus%2fannenberg-estate-sunnylands-to-open-to-the-public.html%26quot%3b&t=1516377178&sig=F_9k_5u_DwYcNKw3ALBuiw--~D rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:told the New York Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">told the New York Times</a>. “It was fantastic. That became an annual event.” (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
The Annenbergs greet the Reagans
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrated New Year's Eve 18 times at Sunnylands. Ronald Reagan was a regular golfer on the estate's 18-hole course. "I played golf with President Reagan there on the 31st of December,” George P. Shultz, the former secretary of state, told the New York Times. “It was fantastic. That became an annual event.” (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
The Room of Memories at the estate house preserves many photos, paintings, gifts and documents the Annenbergs collected at home and abroad. (Photo by Graydon Wood.)
The Room of Memories at Sunnylands
The Room of Memories at the estate house preserves many photos, paintings, gifts and documents the Annenbergs collected at home and abroad. (Photo by Graydon Wood.)
<p>The mid-century modern archetecutal style featured at Sunnylands was the one of the American ways to break with European classical techniques. Queen Elizabeth II was an estate regular and knighted Walter H. Annenberg for his service and philanthropy. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)</p>
British monarchs visist Sunnylands

The mid-century modern archetecutal style featured at Sunnylands was the one of the American ways to break with European classical techniques. Queen Elizabeth II was an estate regular and knighted Walter H. Annenberg for his service and philanthropy. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

Walter Annenberg, Betty Ford, Lee Annenberg, and Gerald Ford.
The visitor's entrance to the new Sunnylands Center, which opened in 2012. (Photo by Photo by Mark Davidson.)
Sunnylands at sunset
The visitor's entrance to the new Sunnylands Center, which opened in 2012. (Photo by Photo by Mark Davidson.)
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dancing with Ronald Reagan. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Ronald Reagan and Sandra Day O'Connor
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dancing with Ronald Reagan. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Unceremounsly booted from office, former U.K. Prime Minister Maragaret Thatcher was a guest at Sunnylands and toured the grounds and orchids during her visit in February 1995. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Maragaret Thatcher at Sunnylands
Unceremounsly booted from office, former U.K. Prime Minister Maragaret Thatcher was a guest at Sunnylands and toured the grounds and orchids during her visit in February 1995. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
George H.W. Bush at Sunnylands
<p>The Annenbergs' philanthropy extended to education as well, and in 1990 the head of the United Negro College Fund accepted at $50 million gift from Walter Annenberg. President George H. W. Bush is seen looking on and was a links regular with Annenberg.</p><p>Bush used to leave a fishing pole by his bedroom window for early morning excursions to one of the estate's 11 lakes.</p><p>(Official White House Photo. Courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)</p>
George H.W. Bush at Sunnylands

The Annenbergs' philanthropy extended to education as well, and in 1990 the head of the United Negro College Fund accepted at $50 million gift from Walter Annenberg. President George H. W. Bush is seen looking on and was a links regular with Annenberg.

Bush used to leave a fishing pole by his bedroom window for early morning excursions to one of the estate's 11 lakes.

(Official White House Photo. Courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

Sunnylands is fnalked by by reflecting pools and gardens. (Photo by Paul Hester.)
Sunnylands gardens
Sunnylands is fnalked by by reflecting pools and gardens. (Photo by Paul Hester.)
<p>Sunnylands had mostly been a hub of GOP power during the 60s when, in his post presidency, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower were regular gusts and early signers of the guestbook. But President Bill Clinton marked a struck a nonpartisan note when he <span>stayed overnight</span> in 1996 to golf with his presidential predecessors George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.</p><p>Here Clinton poses with Walter and Lee Annenberg on Valentine’s Day 1995. (Official White House photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)</p>
Bill Clinton at Sunnylands

Sunnylands had mostly been a hub of GOP power during the 60s when, in his post presidency, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower were regular gusts and early signers of the guestbook. But President Bill Clinton marked a struck a nonpartisan note when he stayed overnight in 1996 to golf with his presidential predecessors George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Here Clinton poses with Walter and Lee Annenberg on Valentine’s Day 1995. (Official White House photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

Nixon wrote in the Sunnylands guest book after receiving a presidential pardon from his predecessor: “When you’re down, you find out who your real friends are.”<br><br>Nixon kept his personalized clubs on the property. An adjacent nine-hole golf course set the Annenberg estate apart from other presential homes and retreats such as the Reagans' Santa Barbara, Calif. ranch. The Reagan ranch featured a pond, horses, and barn but no sandtraps or fairways. (Photo by Mark Davidson and courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Nixon's clubs at Sunnylands
Nixon wrote in the Sunnylands guest book after receiving a presidential pardon from his predecessor: “When you’re down, you find out who your real friends are.”

Nixon kept his personalized clubs on the property. An adjacent nine-hole golf course set the Annenberg estate apart from other presential homes and retreats such as the Reagans' Santa Barbara, Calif. ranch. The Reagan ranch featured a pond, horses, and barn but no sandtraps or fairways. (Photo by Mark Davidson and courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
As ambassador to Great Britian during the Nixon administration, Walter Annenberg sat at the crossroads of the Anglo-American alliance, which was largely directed by Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Henry Kissinger fetes at Sunnylands
As ambassador to Great Britian during the Nixon administration, Walter Annenberg sat at the crossroads of the Anglo-American alliance, which was largely directed by Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Frank Sinatra was a friend of the Annenbergs, and occaisonal dance partner of Nancy Reagan. The Sunnylands estate is one block north of Frank Sinatra Drive. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan
Frank Sinatra was a friend of the Annenbergs, and occaisonal dance partner of Nancy Reagan. The Sunnylands estate is one block north of Frank Sinatra Drive. (Photo courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Former U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Sunnylands during the U.S-Mexico retreat in March 2012. (Photo by Mark Davidson courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Sunnylands
Former U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Sunnylands during the U.S-Mexico retreat in March 2012. (Photo by Mark Davidson courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Former First Lady Laura Bush, seen here with Sunnylands director Janice Lyle in March 2011, did not visit Sunnylands while in office. Instead, the only visit by the Bushes came during a 2000 fundraiser for then Gov. George W. Bush. (Photo by Mark Davidson courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)
Laura Bush at Sunnylands
Former First Lady Laura Bush, seen here with Sunnylands director Janice Lyle in March 2011, did not visit Sunnylands while in office. Instead, the only visit by the Bushes came during a 2000 fundraiser for then Gov. George W. Bush. (Photo by Mark Davidson courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

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