From pop-up museums to food events and everything in between it easy to get distracted with all the new and exciting things happening in LA. What we often overlook are the places that have been around for decades and even centuries.
Yes, it is surprising just how much history Los Angeles really has.
If you take the time to look, you’ll realize that there are some truly extraordinary places here in LA that do not always get the attention they deserve. For instance, all the historic mansions that are accessible to the public. Not only are these mansions architecturally stunning and make for amazing photo ops, but they are great reminders of lost LA.
So whether you are looking to learn more about Los Angeles’ often forgotten history or just want to see some AMAZING homes, here are seven historic mansions in LA you NEED to visit.
7 HISTORIC MANSIONS YOU NEED TO VISIT
THE BANNING RESIDENCE MUSEUM
First on our list of historic mansions is the Banning Residence Museum. If you’ve been following me for a while then You are already well aware of my love affair with this beautiful home.
A small museum ran mostly by local volunteers, the Banning Museum is one of the only Greek Revival style homes in Los Angeles. Built-in 1850 by Phineas Banning, Father of the Port of Los Angeles, the Banning Museum a testament to the rise of the city of LA we now know it today. Tediously restored and furnished with Victorian-era antiques, the museum serves to preserve the history of the Banning Family and share it’s unique link to the city of Los Angeles.
Days of operation, tour times, and events hosted by the Banning Museum can be found at banningmuseum.org
Look familiar? I know all my American Horror Story fans are screaming YES. Regardless if you’re an AHD fan or not, the Rosenheim historic mansion has as an extensive history within the Hollywood film industry.
Built by renowned architect Alfred Rosenheim in 1908, it was once know referred to as “one of the finest homes in Los Angeles.” A recognized cultural and historical landmark (#660) the Rosenheim mansion stands as a tangible piece of film and architectural history.
Although privately owned, fans can still view and take pictures in front of the mansion. Just remember to be respectful and remain on the sidewalk or street.
For those of you interested in viewing the Rosenheim historic mansion, you can find it at 1120 Westchester Place, Los Angeles 90019.
If you visited the Getty Villa before, you may be a little confused as to why this is even included as a historic mansion. Although the museum is an impressive structure, it is but a recreation of the Villa dei Pairi built in 1974. The historical mansion in question, which once served as both the home to oil magnate J Paul Getty and the original location of the Getty Museum, is actually hidden in plain view.
Although no longer accessible to the public, the former Malibu mansion of J Paul Getty can still be seen tucked just behind the Villa. To get the best view of the exterior of the historic mansion, guests should seek out the coffee cart on the second level near the restaurant.
Curious about more hidden Getty Villa gems? Makes sure to check out 7 Little-Known Facts About the Getty Villa.
One of the only historic mansions I have yet to visit here in LA, the Virginia Robinson Gardens can be found tucked in the away in the center of Beverly Hills. Built in the early 1900s by retail giants Virginia and Harry Robinson, owners of the Robinson’s Department store, the mansion now serves as a botanical oasis and historic estate. Take a tour and discover the beauty of Mrs. Robinson’s lavish and well-renown gardens and her equally famous Hollywood parties.
For more information about guided tours and events visit robinsongarden.org.
HUNTINGTON LIBRARY AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
Set on 120 acres in San Marino, the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens was founded by businessman Henry E. Huntington and his wife Arabella. Both avid art and manuscript collectors, the Huntington’s amassed a collection worthy of a museum and in 1919 created the Huntington Library out of their estate. As time went on and the number of acquisitions grew, various structures were created to house the collections. The once opulent residence of Henry and Arabella was eventually converted into an art gallery. While a library was constructed to house rare book and manuscript collections. As for the rest of the grounds, specialized gardens scattered the 120 acres of land showcasing flora and fauna from around the world.
To learn more about this historic estate and get some tips for when you plan your visit, make sure to check out the post here!
Built during 1927 the Greystone Mansion was constructed for Ned Doheny, the heir to oil magnate Edward Doheny, and his wife Lucy. The mansion, nicknamed the ‘Greystone’ because of the “abundant use of stone construction and its rather gray somber appearance,” is also often referred to as the Doheny Estate due to the murder/suicide of its owner.
Besides its dark history, this historic mansion has been the backdrop for countless movies and continues to be very much a part of Hollywood history.
Now owned by the city of Beverly Hills, the Greystone Mansion and surrounding gardens functions as a public park with tours of the interior given sporadically throughout the year.
To check times and availability or guided tour, please check out dohneymansion.org.
J.J HAGGARTY VILLA
Unlike most of the historic mansion’s previously listed, the J J Haggarty Villa is probably the least renown but has been repurposed in the most unique way.
Built-in 1927 as a summer residence for wealthy merchant J.J. Haggarty, this historic mansion was at one point the largest home in Palos Verdes. Constructed to resemble a Mediterranean villa, Haggarty’s mansion was comprised of nearly 32 rooms and included a private pier, as well as a conservatory. With Italian Renaissance frescoes decorating the interior and Ralphealesque decor throughout the home, the Haggarty mansion was a jewel amid the developing community of Palos Verdes Estates.
After the death of Haggarty in 1938, the mansion sat vacantly and rumors persisted that the property was haunted. In 1950, the house was purchased by a religious group and converted into the Neighborhood Church.
Still, an active religious center, the historic mansion of J.J. Haggarty now entertains churchgoers while beautifully landscaped grounds are open to the public.
So what did you think? Make sure to leave a comment below and tell me if you’d visited any of these historic mansions!
Oh, and make sure to read my last post here!