One of the best things to do for free in Los Angeles is check out homes. We have many homes built by the world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. We have homes that belong to celebrities long gone and places current stars now live in.
We have famous houses shown in TV and movies like The Happy Days house near Cahuenga and The Brady Bunch house in the valley.
Even just regular houses are cool to peruse in Los Angeles. We have so many different styles of homes in different parts of Los Angeles. For example Hancock Park is where they often filmed a lot when they wanted to show a rich person’s house.
Hollywood has craftsman homes most people see portrayed as homes in Middle America. They are still always filming in the neighborhood and as kids we often ate at the catering trucks or “craft services” as it is known in the business.
The Hollywood Hills, Malibu and many more areas have very unique homes like the space ship house shaped like a flying saucer.
We even have a few victorian homes.
Angelinos get a kick out of it when they show downtown LA on TV and pretend it is New York.
But my favorite homes or should I say estates once belonged to our super rich residents from the past.
Today’s activity gives you both a grand manor and a place used in many films and TV shows going back decades. In fact they just got done shooting when we arrived today. If you get to know the place well you will start to see it everywhere on the little and big screens..
The house is Greystone. Take a gander at the pic on the top left and you can see the brick work and ornate chimney on this incredible building and get this.
That Top Pic Is Just The Gate House!
Pay particular attention to those chimneys because they are unique and a dead giveaway of where they really are when you see it on the screen.
Greystone is named after the grey Indiana stones that make up the 46,000 square foot estate at a cost of $3,000,000. It was a gift from the oil magnate Doheney to his son who died in the house around four months after moving in. So powerful was the family, they held police back from entering the home for 5 hours the night of the alleged murder/suicide. The bodies of both the young Doheny and his secretary were discovered but later it was rumored that it was the wife who did the dirty deed.
The bloody movie “There Will Be Blood” was based on Doheney and the bowling scene was filmed in the bowling alley here.
The house took a year and a half to build in the late 20s. This is amazing if you consider the monstrosity being built next door isn’t close to being done and is on its third year. Plus it will be built with modern materials which require less time than the ornate craftsmanship throughout the Greystone mansion.
Mrs. Doheney remarried and stayed in the house until 1955. She sold off much of the land in of the Doheney ranch to Trousdale for development in 1954. She sold the house and grounds in 1955 to Henry Crown. He simply leased it out to film companies and AFI leased it from 69-82.
When he wanted to carve up the property and destroy the house in the 1960s the city of Beverly Hills wanted it to build a 19,300,000 gallon reservoir which is underneath the parking lot.
The City Paid 1.1 Million for Greystone In 1965!
Now it is worth over 100 million.
In 1971 it became a park.
I had lot’s of not-so-well-known little spots to escape the LA rat race. Places like Errol Flynn’s estate now known as Runyan canyon. Many of these respites were cleaned up, made safer and brought so many people, it ruined the whole experience for me. Greystone is the first of my favorite little spots I didn’t mind them revamping. It is still not too crowded and much nicer with the working fountains and well-groomed gardens.
Many people now come here to paint. When Rose was in her princess phase, she put on her princess costume and we brought her here to take pictures in the rose garden.
The inside is off limits but a tour can be arranged for a fee of $150 which will take up to 10 people. My mother and I have always wanted to see the inside and today I learned they have the bowling alley mentoned earlier and cool boiler rooms downstairs as well as several ballrooms upstairs I’d love to see.
We are going to arrange a group to take the tour and defray the cost to $15 per person. If it is as cool as I think it is, I will let everyone know.
Portions of the grounds can also be rented for garden parties and events. Nice spot for a wedding huh?
Another much smaller yet very cool mansion to visit is Adamson House Museum on PCH. It was built by the founder of The Malibu Tile Company. I may cover it one day but if you check it out the coolest thing about that beach house is the heated salt water pool.