If you’ve never visited the Greystone Mansion and Park in Beverly Hills, you probably should.
The city-owned property sits on 18 acres of land with maze-like gardens, fountains and a beautiful view of the city.
I’ve heard rumblings about the mansion being haunted. I don’t believe in ghosts, but still, I was intrigued — so I decided to experience the property in person.
The 55-room estate was completed in 1928 as a gift from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny to his son, Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr., and family. At a cost of more than $3 million, it was “an almost unimaginable sum in real estate at the time.”
In addition to the mansion, the grounds originally had stables and kennels, tennis courts, a fire station, gatehouse, swimming pool and pavilion, a greenhouse, a lake, babbling brooks and cascading waterfalls.
So in other words, it was niiiiice.
The Greystone got its name from the abundant use of stone and its rather somber gray appearance.
But back to the mansion maybe being haunted.
On February 16, 1929 – just five months after Ned Doheny, his wife Lucy and their five children moved in – Ned and his secretary, Hugh Plunkett, were found shot to death inside the home, victims of a probable murder-suicide.
Doheny’s widow, Lucy, remarried and stayed at the Greystone for more than two decades.
She sold most of the acreage in 1954 to developer Paul Trousdale, according to the LA Times. A year later, the property went to Chicago industrialist Henry Crown, who also at one point owned the Empire State Building.
He never moved in.
Ten years later, Crown was about to tear it down and subdivide the property when local residents apparently organized a “Save Greystone” campaign, the LA Times reports.
The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property from Crown in 1965 for approximately $1.3 million with plans to install a 19-million gallon water tank on the property. The site continues to serve as Beverly Hills’ largest reservoir.
The entire 18.3 acre site, including its centerpiece Greystone Mansion, was eventually dedicated as a public park by the City of Beverly Hills. In 1976, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
While the actual mansion is only open for special events, the beautiful park grounds are open daily to the public, for free, with ample parking.
There are signs posted that say photography is not allowed without a permit, but I saw plenty of people posing for pictures around the gardens – so take photos at your own risk.
Occasionally, the property is closed for filming, such as scenes from “Gilmore Girls,” “Entourage” and Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together music video.
If you’re in the neighborhood and have 20 minutes to kill, check it out!
Greystone Estate is located at 501 Doheny Road, Beverly Hills, California 90210.