This lavish, nearly 20,000-square-foot residence in Pasadena most recently served as the headquarters of the San Gabriel Pomona Valley chapter of the Red Cross, but its history dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, when Pasadena was cementing its status as an ultra-wealthy enclave.
The mansion, known as the John S. Cravens estate, is named for the man who commissioned it. Cravens founded the Edison Company, precursor to the Southern California Edison, according to a brochure for the property.
Completed in 1930, the estate reportedly cost $1.25 million to build—an incredible sum at the time. P.J. Walker Company—which also constructed the storied Greystone Mansion for the Doheny family in Beverly Hills—built the Cravens estate of reinforced concrete and brick veneer.
The architect was Louis P. Hobart, who’s mostly known for his work in Northern California, including San Francisco’s beautiful Gothic Revival Grace Cathedral. This house is Hobart’s only known Southern California commission.
The seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom estate is located directly off of Orange Grove Avenue, an area once known as Pasadena’s Millionaire’s Row. Beer magnate Adolphus Busch once owned a palatial home on the Row, as did chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley Jr.
Today, the property maintains many of the original features from the era when the Cravens resided here.
The house’s “grand gallery” contains murals painted in 1930 by “internationally renowned mural artist” Ernest Pexiotto. There are six carved marble fireplaces, each one designed to complement the room it occupies. A large skylight hangs over a winding staircase in the entryway. Mrs. Cravens’s fur vault remains on-site.
The Cravens estate, a Pasadena landmark, is listed for $10.5 million.
- 430 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, CA 91105 [Sotheby’s International Realty]