This fantastic 1905 estate was originally built for Hulett C. Merritt, a man who was a multimillionaire by the time he was 18 after investing wisely in real estate, railroads, and steel. Merritt’s mansion sits on Orange Grove Avenue, then known as Millionaire’s Row for the wealthy residents whose lavish villas dotted the street. (Merritt’s mansion is said to have cost $1.1 million to build.)
After Merritt died in 1956, the estate was purchased by Ambassador College, a school run by the Worldwide Church of God through 1990 that had once had some very cool midcentury buildings on its campus. (They’ve since been demolished.) The mansion is now owned by City Ventures, an Orange County-based developer.
The Merritt residence measures over 17,000 square feet, and includes seven bedrooms but somehow only three bathrooms. The few interior photos available hint at just how mind numbingly decadent this place must have been back in its heyday. The house has retained its original mahogany wood paneling on the first and second floors and its private sunken garden, says the listing. The house also contains an indoor swimming pool, perfect for your Great Gatsby parties.
The property’s landscaped was previously reported to have been designed by noted landscape designer Garrett Eckbo, though the current listing makes no mention of Eckbo.
The Merritt estate listed for $9.95 million last year. Now it’s had a price chop to $7.9 million.