LCOC members and their friends from the Thunderbirds of Southern California (TSC) marveled at the lifestyle of the ultra rich as they toured the famous 55-room Doheny Greystone Mansion, a Beverly Hills landmark for more than 90 years. Then they adjourned to Eataly at the nearby Westfield Mall for a late lunch. The huge Gothic estate originally was the home of Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr., his wife Lucy, and their five children.
While nearly all the original furniture has been removed, the gorgeous architecture, high ceilings, and magnificent woodwork remain for us to enjoy even today. Expansive views of downtown Los Angeles, Century City, and other landmarks from the front terrace awe visitors. Touring the entertainment spaces and bedrooms, one can only imagine how grand the great estate was in its heyday and why a permanent staff of 15 was required to maintain it.
Our tour group included LCOC members Brian Bernsen, Jim Ayres, Ron and Diana Anast, and Elayne Bendel along with Carmen and Bob Rosas from the TSC. Originally a much larger joint club event was planned but the tour tickets sold out quickly and many who planned to attend from our clubs were unable to get them. However, more tours are being planned for 2019. So if you missed out this time visit www.greystonemansion.org for new info.
Ned was the sole heir of Edward Doheny, Sr., whose fortune came after being the first to discover oil in Los Angeles in 1892. Doheny Sr. originally gifted 12.58 acres of prime real estate for the mansion and outbuildings which were constructed during the boom times of the 1920s. The original price tag was $3.17 million for the mansion, tennis courts, swimming pool, kennels, stables, lake, waterfalls, greenhouse, fire station and gatehouse. After three years of construction the home was finally occupied by Ned and his family in September 1928.
Unfortunately, the new homeowner did not enjoy his estate and grounds for long. Just five months after moving in Ned, 36, was found shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide perpetrated by his longtime friend and assistant Hugh Plunket. Lucy remained at Greystone until 1955 when she and her second husband sold most of the land to a real estate developer and then the estate itself to Henry Crown of the Chicago-based Park Grey Corporation. Crown never lived at Greystone but leased it out as a popular filming site. Dozens of movies, TV shows and commercials were filmed there over the years.
In 1965, the City of Beverly Hills purchased the property and the Friends of Greystone work tirelessly to maintain it through contributions and a volunteer staff of docents. As one can imagine, keeping up the 46,000 square foot mansion is costly and the Friends sponsor periodic public events to raise funds and promote public donations. Greystone Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is among the finest examples in southern California of American Gilded Age architecture. It is well worth a commitment of time and money to visit.