Thereâs this mansion in Beverly Hills that a large part of the worldâs population has already seen, even though they might not realize it.
Itâs a historic house thatâs been used in endless Hollywood movies, TV series, and music videos. After you finish reading this article, you might just realize that youâve seen this house before, too. Well, now you will also know its history, and when you see it again on your TV screen (and more than likely, you will), youâll recognize it.
The place weâre referring to is known as Greystone Mansion or Doheny Mansion, and itâs located at 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. The Tudor Revival mansion was originally completed in 1928, after three yearsâ worth of construction and a total cost of over $4 million — an insane amount at the time.Â
The inception of Doheny Mansion
The 55-room, 46,000-square-foot mansion lies on a 16-acre site within Trousdale Estates. It was designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann and built by the P.J. Walker Company. The land was actually a wedding gift from oil tycoon Edward Doheny to his son, Edward âNedâ Doheny, and his new wife, Lucy Smith.
Edward Doheny was an American oil tycoon who drilled the first oil well in Los Angeles in 1892. His story was depicted in the Academy Award-winning movie There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Interestingly enough, the movie was actually filmed at Doheny Mansion.
Ned Dohenyâs house became known as Greystone because it was built mainly of stone, and has a grey, stone-cold appearance. The house took roughly three years to build, and included stables, kennels, tennis courts, a gatehouse, a swimming pool and pavilion, a lake with babbling brooks and waterfalls, and even a fire station.
A bittersweet move-in for the Dohenys
Unfortunately, Ned Doheny didnât get to enjoy his new home for too long. Just four months after moving into Greystone Mansion, Doheny was found dead in the house, alongside his secretary and friend, Hugh Plunkett. The case was ruled a murder-suicide, however, some claim that thereâs more to that story.
Doheny was killed by his own gun, and he was not buried with the rest of his family, but in a different cemetery, just a few yards away from where Plunkett was laid to rest. This has led some to believe that Doheny might have committed suicide, however, this is just a theory that certainly adds a bit of mystery to Greystone Mansion.
Following Ned Dohenyâs death, his wife Lucy remarried and lived in the house with her children until 1955. Greystone Mansion was later sold to Paul Trousdale, the developer of Trousdale Estates, who then sold it to Henry Crown of Chicago. The businessman never actually lived in the house, but leased it out to film studios — and thatâs how Greystoneâs prolific movie career started.Â
Greystone Mansion, Hollywood’s favorite filming location
Over the decades, Greystone Mansion has been featured in numerous Hollywood movies and TV series, including classics like The Big Lebowski, Eraserhead, The Witches of Eastwick, Death Becomes Her, Batman & Robin, The Bodyguard, Dark Shadows, The Prestige, The Social Network, and X-Men.
The mansion has also made appearances in TV series, including Alias and The Young and the Restless, and it also played the part of Chilton Academy in Gilmore Girls.
Last but not least, Greystone Mansion has been featured in commercials and even music videos. You might have already toured the house alongside Robert Downey Jr., in the music video for Elton Johnâs single I Want Love. Let us refresh your memory:
In 1965, the City of Beverly Hills purchased Greystone Mansion, and a few years later, the property became a public city park. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, as Doheny Estate/Greystone.
The mansion continues to be used as a filming location and a destination for special events such as music festivals, fundraisers, and even weddings. Greystone Mansion houses the Beverly Hills Flower & Garden Festival, the yearly Catskills West drama camp, and The Annual Hollywood Ball, among others.
A carefully preserved slice of L.A. history
Greystone Mansion is a remarkable feat of architecture, and most of its original features have been carefully preserved over the years. The property features hand-carved oak banisters, balustrades and rafters, seven chimneys, each designed by a different artist, a movie theater room, a billiard room, a hidden bar, and a two-lane original Brunswick bowling alley. The alley was renovated so that it could be used by the filming crew for There Will Be Blood.Â
Thereâs a grand hall with distinctive, black-and-white marble floors and a very famous staircase. In fact, the staircase at Greystone Mansion has been featured in numerous productions, due to its majestic appearance.
Greystone Mansion also included a servantâs quarters that took up two entire floors on the east wing and was built to accommodate a live-in staff of 15.
There was also a living room with a balcony where musicians performed at special events, and a kitchen pantry with a secret wall safe that held the familyâs silver and gold kitchenware.
This stunning, stone-clad Beverly Hills mansion continues to attract filming crews, and weâre definitely going to be seeing it again on the big screen. At the same time, its beautiful, lush gardens and its rich history will continue to attract visitors from around the world.
Here’s a further glimpse into the mansion’s history, to keep you occupied until you get a chance to visit in person:
Featured image courtesy of The City of Beverly Hills
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We recently covered the new Haunting of Bly Manor, director Mike Flanaganâs so-called sequel to the epic mini-series The Haunting of Hill House. And while we were anxiously waiting for the series to drop on Netflix, we thought weâd try to distract ourselves by taking a trip down memory lane and re-watching the first season.Â
Are the two seasons connected? Kind of.
Now, the two parts have nothing to do with each other in terms of plot, but youâll get to see some familiar faces from the first series. Director Mike Flanagan is obviously taking cues from American Horror Story, which tends to re-cast the same actors in each season, much to our delight.
Another thing that the two seasons have in common is a central character in the form of a mansion that brings all the other characters together. Both The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor are based on iconic gothic novels, namely Shirley Jacksonâs Haunting of Hill House and Henry Jamesâ The Turn of the Screw.
While Bly Manor, according to Jamesâ short novel, is welcoming and warm, bearing no signs whatsoever of anything evil lurking inside it, Hill House is a different story. Mike Flanagan might have strayed from the plot and the characters found in Jacksonâs novel, but the central character is the same: a classic, creepy, dark and mysterious haunted mansion.
Hill Houseâs dark allure
Hill House, both in the novel and in the Netflix adaptation, is sinister-looking, unwelcoming, ominous even, like a warning to those who dare enter. In Flanaganâs version, Hill House is a living and breathing organism that manages to haunt the Crain family for decades, luring them back one by one.
The Crain family, which includes Hugh and Olivia and their children, Theo, Nell, Shirley, Luke, and Steven, moves into Hill House as the parents have a passion for flipping houses. Hugh and Olivia plan to renovate the crumbling mansion and then sell it to build their dream house, designed by Olivia herself. However, Hill House has other plans in store for the Crains.
Repairs take much longer than anticipated, as if the house itself was committed to causing trouble and keeping the family close. Gradually, the family starts experiencing some strange phenomena. Kids are seeing âbent-neck ladiesâ in the night, hearing strange noises, while Olivia becomes increasingly unhinged, much to Hughâs concern.
Things progress and get worse, until one fateful night when Hugh and the kids are forced to flee and escape Hill House, apparently leaving Olivia behind. What truly happened that night is only explained at the end of the series, when the kids, now adults, return to Hill House with their father to finally learn the truth.
We donât want to give too much away, in case you havenât seen the series yet – if thatâs the case, stop reading right now for crying out loud and go binge-watch some Netflix. Basically, the house has a strange grip on each of the members of the Crain family, and many years later it manages to lure them back, one by one, for reasons that are only revealed in the final episode.
Is Hill House a real place?
Fortunately, Hill House is an entirely fictional place, so no worries about being inexplicably lured to it like the Crains. However, there is a real place that inspired the look and feel of Hill House, located in LaGrange, Georgia.
Dubbed Bisham Manor, the imposing estate at 1901 Old Young’s Mill Road might look like the house in the series, but thatâs pretty much where the similarities end. The interior shots were filmed on a set, and they look nothing like the interior of Bisham Manor, which is far from creepy. In fact, Bisham Manor is a popular and charming wedding and event venue, so itâs safe to say itâs attracting visitors for non-evil purposes.
Bisham Manor, according to Zillow, boasts roughly 11,000 square feet of space, and is a 1920s English Tudor-style home that was redeveloped in the early 2000s by master-builder Ben Parham. The four-story estate is being used as an event venue for corporate events, meetings and team buildings, weddings, parties, and so on.
Though it might look like an old English castle, it comes decked out with modern amenities like a gym, spa, sauna, steam, wine cellar, and an outdoor pool. Nothing evil about that, as far as we can see. But Bishamâs former owners might disagree.
Neil and Trish Leichty purchased Bisham Manor in 2013, and they reported that the house is definitely haunted by a couple of ghosts of its own. The couple described music playing in the basement despite there being no sound system installed, strange smells permeating throughout the house, and things disappearing in the night.
The Leichtys soon moved to a different home, but continued to experience strange events, much like the Crains were haunted by Hill House decades after they left it. Coincidence? Weâll let you be the judge of that.
If you havenât watched The Haunting of Hill House, you still have some time until The Haunting of Bly Manor drops on October 9. Prepare to be spooked, but donât worry, the house is purely fictional. If, on the other hand, youâve already seen it twice, then check out these other haunted houses weâve covered here on Fancy Pants Homes. Halloween season is not too far away, so you better start getting ready!
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The Haunting of Thornewood Castle â Where Stephen King Filmed the Rose Red Miniseries
Is It Real? The Creepy House in Stephen Kingâs âItâ
The Winchester House â The Haunted Mansion that Inspired the Name of Supernaturalâs Winchester Brothers
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