Orange Grove Boulevard History
Orange Grove Boulevard is one of the addresses of the most affluent and famous people in Southern California. To illustrate, the mansions of the well-to-do are seen here and are a spectacular entrance into Pasadena. This has been a famous address since the early 1900s. The estates used to belong to some of the country’s most well-known industry corporate giants. A few are William Wrigley Jr, Mrs. Barnum, Libby (of McNeill & Libby), and Warner (of BorgWarner). The Cravens (of Liggett & Myers Tobacco) had the most expensive mansion ever built in Pasadena. Mr. Harkness, (of Standard Oil) also used to call this street home.
At one point in the heyday, they had 15 millionaires per mile, early in the 1900s. But as things do, they change with time. The millionaires died, the once beautiful homes fell vacant and others began to move in. The country was falling into a depression in the latter part of the 1920s and then even the beautiful boulevard began to show signs of distress. In the mid-century, the transition was inevitable because of the economic change in the country. However, now the boulevard is stabilized and historic preservation is keeping what little is left from being destroyed.
The history of some amazing people and colorful characters are available at the Pasadena Museum of History. With this in mind, it is very much worth a peek if you are interested in the story and drama behind these magnificent buildings. I would also recommend this fascinating article some of the mansions past: https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2016/12/15/yes-pasadena-has-a-millionaires-row-filled-with-stately-homes-from-a-bygone-era/
Some of the Incredible Homes…
However, one of the most famous homes is the Gamble House. David Gamble (son of James Gamble of Proctor & Gamble), had it designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene. In particular, it is an outstanding example of American Craftsman style. Not every house has a foundation to preserve it, but this one does, and deservedly so – it is beautifully kept up and the grounds and interior is worth seeing. https://gamblehouse.org/
The styles of the mansions vary greatly, each one telling a different story. Certainly, if you travel along Orange Grove Boulevard you will see many types of architecture. For instance, one amazing mansion is the Terrace Villa, built in 1924, a beautiful Italian Revival house. At the time of this writing, it is looking for a new owner at the price of $4.8 million dollars. Indeed, I have to admire the work that went into that home. https://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-pasadena-revival-20170525-story.html
Another house that you can get terrific views of online is a magnificent Arts & Crafts period house. It is called the Mayfair Mansion built in 1903 by Frederick L. Roehrig in the Tudor Revival Style. This is also a historical monument in the prestigious Ambassador Gardens. It is located next to Old Town Pasadena. This mansion is over 13,000 square feet and 3 floors. 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Check out the video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zBgaXqzH64
When You Look At These Homes…
Consider, if you will, when they were built. The times that the country was in and the spirit of the people who built them. Think about the drama of their lives and what they did. And what hands those homes are in now. Those walls have stories to tell. What stories would your walls tell?
For more places to visit in Pasadena, check out our next post!
To learn more about our beautiful city and popular events that take place here, read our post on how the City of Roses got its name.
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