Touring Greystone Mansion

There are many locations across Los Angeles that are used for filming but some places seems to show up in movies over and over again. One such place is Greystone Mansion in the heart of Beverly Hills. For the past 70 years the home and grounds have been featured in countless films from The Disorderly Orderly to Ghostbusters to There Will Be Blood. I’ve long been wanting to visit  but it’s rarely ever open to the public. Luckily, a few weeks ago The Friends of Greystone held an open house and Shannon and I made sure to attend.

In 1926 Edward Doheny (of the Doheny Mansion) gave his son, Ned, a 12.58 acre parcel of land in Beverly Hills as a wedding gift. On this land Greystone Mansion was built. Costing over $3 million and taking 3 years to build it was, at the time, the largest residence in Los Angeles.

Sadly, only 5 months after moving in Ned was murdered in one of the rooms. The cause of his death remains a mystery but it appears to have been a murder-suicide perpetrated by his secretary, Hugh Plunket. His widow, Lucy, remarried and remained in the home until 1956 when the property and land were divided and sold.

In 1965, the city of Beverly Hills acquired the property and in 1971 it became a public park. That is what it remains to this day so the grounds are always open for visitors but the home itself is generally closed.

So, when I heard about the open house I knew it would be a rare treat for Shannon and I as we are both film and history buffs. When we arrived the house was a hub of activity but since it’s so big we were able to take the self guided tour with ease.

There are very few furnishings in the home but the architectural elements alone are impressive. In the bathrooms the tile work is exquisite and looks just as it did over 80 years ago.

There are so many windows offering beautiful views of the city below. On our visit it was overcast but I can only imagine what it must be like on a sunny day.

The kitchen is enormous and has recently been fully restored. The mansion is a popular wedding venue so, happily, it remains in use to today.

But my very favorite part is the basement. To get to it you first travel down a spiral staircase.

Then you arrive at the ultimate recreation room. There’s a pool table and a bar that has a false front as it was built during the days of prohibition.

And there’s a bowling alley. An honest to goodness private bowling alley!

As we wandered all through the house it seemed as though it would never end. I really think it’s the biggest home I’ve ever been in. Greystone Mansion is an architectural masterpiece that wonderfully still exists in the heart of Beverly Hills. On the rare occasion it’s open to the public it’s well worth visiting.

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