Historic Homes in South Pasadena

Historic Homes in South Pasadena

  • The Middleman Team
  • 06/22/23

South Pasadena
is a suburban city with numerous parks and playgrounds, fantastic restaurants, upscale shopping spots, and fun-filled community festivities to look forward to. It boasts a distinctive small-town atmosphere and a notable dedication to preserving the area's history and unique charm.

The South Pasadena real estate scene is replete with remarkable single-family properties designed in Craftsman and Mid-Century and styles, alongside a handful of condominiums and townhomes. The city's tree-lined streets are also home to many designated historic landmarks and countless historic residential homes with gorgeous character and architectural prestige. From the Wynyate Mansion and the Howard and Etta Longley House to the Lucretia Garfield House and the Century House, these properties tell unique tales of South Pasadena’s story.

Residents and visitors can admire the seamless blend of the past and the present through guided tours that explore some of the area's most famous architectural wonders. If you prefer a self-guided adventure, don't miss these historic South Pasadena homes as you explore the city.

Wynyate Mansion

851 Lyndon St., South Pasadena
Designed by architect W. R. Norton, this impressive three-story Victorian mansion was built in 1887 and was once owned by South Pasadena's first mayor, Donald M. Graham, and his wife, author Margaret Collier Graham. Margaret and her sister Jennie established the South Pasadena Lyceum, a precursor of the South Pasadena Public Library, in 1889.The mayor played a central role in the city's cultural scene, and the Wynyate Mansion welcomed many famous guests, including authors, artists, and local luminaries. Found at 851 Lyndon St., the Wynyate (Welsh for “vineyard”) mansion once overlooked grape vineyards. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. This designation helped protect the building from destruction through the expansion of the 710 Freeway.

The rambling Queen Anne Victorian is nestled on a secluded, gated two-acre estate that features four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a children's playground, a pool, and a guest house. The elegantly detailed home also boasts a dining room and music room, a formal parlor and study, and a third-floor entertainment space. The home has been carefully restored by its present owners to preserve its historical integrity and even featured a lemon eucalyptus tree planted by John Muir in 1889.

Howard and Etta Longley House

1005 Buena Vista St., South Pasadena
Although architects Charles and Henry Greene are most well known for designing famous mansions, such as the Gamble House and the Blacker House, the lesser-known Howard and Etta Longley House was also the work of the duo. The house was built in 1897 and is the earliest surviving creation of the Greene brothers. The property was built for Howard and Etta Longley, who were their distant relatives.

The Longleys turned down at least two Mission Revival/Georgian designs before accepting the existing plan for the home. The building's architectural style combines colonial-style aspects with dramatic features to create an eclectic structure with hints of the technique developed by the Greene brothers in later years. Decorative details, such as animal head brackets, vertical sidelighting, and scrolled hardware, appear throughout. In 1910, the brothers designed an addition to the house for the new owner Frank C. Bolt, consistent with the home's existing style.

The Howard and Etta Longley House was one of many slated for potential destruction in the 1960s, with the goal of extending the 710 Freeway along a Meridian Route. However, its status on the National Register of Historic Places prevented this. Although the LA Department of Transportation (DOT) wrote to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places asking for the home to be removed from the list, the law was not in the DOT's favor. The house still stands today.

Lucretia Garfield House

1001 Buena Vista St., South Pasadena
Constructed by Greene & Greene in 1904 for widowed First Lady Lucretia Garfield, this elegant chalet-style American Craftsman estate features two stories, six bedrooms, a spacious living area, a chef’s kitchen, exposed beams, a sun room with a porch swing, and hillside vistas. With an expansive lawn and overhanging cedars framing the front brick walkway, the home is uniquely impressive and stately at every turn. The property served as Lucretia’s winter home and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. An elevator was designed inside the residence in 1916. In 2006, Melanie Ciccone (Madonna’s sister) and Joe Henry purchased and renovated the property to become a recording studio and media space.

The Century House

1000 Mission St., South Pasadena
Best known for its appearance in John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic "Halloween," the Century House dates back to 1888. After filming, the home remained vacant and grew increasingly dilapidated until it was scheduled to be bulldozed in 1987 at its original location at 709 Meridian Avenue.

It was saved from destruction at the last moment when South Pasadena council member David Margrave purchased it for the price of a silver dollar. However, Margrave had no property to move the home to and paid movers to transport the structure onto a nearby railroad property. Instead of removing the home, the city recognized it as a cultural landmark and allowed it to remain in the Mission Street location.

The building is a simple Victorian-style duplex that had been abandoned long before the filming of the famed horror movie. However, its rich history makes it a popular historic site in South Pasadena. In its current location on Mission Street, the building is used for several businesses, such as coffee shops and antique stores. Except for the removal of a small section at the back, the exterior is exactly as it appeared in the spooky 1978 film.

Delight in a town where the past meets the present

South Pasadena's historic homes have housed millionaires and served as famous film sites, and they continue to delight residents and visitors today. Amazing historic homes can occasionally be found on the market for those wishing to own a beautiful piece of history. Learn more about South Pasadena real estate and the historic properties in the area from the experts at The Middleman Team. Reach out today.

*Header photo courtesy of Meg Middleman and the Middleman Team

Recommended Reading: A Local's Guide on Things to Do in South Pasadena

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