The Greystone Mansion is one of the most popular filming locations in the world, located in Beverly Hills. Movie buffs might also recognize it as a filming location for There Will Be Blood (2007), an Oscar winning movie starring Daniel Day Lewis.
Greystone Mansion is a short drive north of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It's free to visit the Greystone Mansion grounds, but the interior is only open for special events.
The grounds resemble a traditional English Garden with enchanting courtyards, fountains and terraces. Back in the day they were part of the 429-acre Doheny Ranch.
Greystone Mansion was built in 1927-28 by Oil Tycoon Edward Doheny, as a wedding gift for his son Ned Doheny. Ned Doheny was murdered 5 months after moving into the mansion, but the murder was never properly investigated and is shrouded in mystery.
10 best things to do at Greystone Mansion
1. Savor panoramic views from the parking lot entrance.
The first "wow" happens when you stand at the parking lot looking down at the mansion. The expansive views of Los Angeles are incredible from here, and you feel like you've stepped inside a dreamy 18th century English garden. The rooftop of the Greystone Mansion also comes into view, and ornate stairways criss-cross the formal gardens.
2. Stroll along the formal lawned area.
The first set of stairs leads down to a courtyard with a fountain. There's a dramatic double staircase on the edge of the courtyard, leading to a formal lawned area, framed in by boxwood hedges and white roses to create an enchanting Beverly Hills garden.
Get another perspective of the lawned area by walking to the cascading Italian Renaissance fountain at the end.
3. Walk along the secluded Cyprus Walk.
The Cyprus Walk is below the formal lawned area. This 166-foot long walkway is hemmed in on either side by cyprus trees, and resembles something out of Ancient Greece. There are eight gargoyle fountains on the adjacent sandstone wall, each with a different face.
4. Learn the history of the Firehouse and Recreation Center in the East Courtyard.
Another set of stairs leads to the East Courtyard outside the Greystone Mansion, which features a recreation center and firehouse.
The recreation centre building (pictured above) houses a film room, bowling alley, and a billiard room with a secret prohibition-era bar hidden behind wood panels. The bowling alley was a filming location in There Will Be Blood (2007), and even has it's own ball return.
The original firehouse is across from the Recreation Center. Edward Doheny was the first person to discover oil in LA and became one of it's wealthiest citizens, therefore he could afford his own fire department. Back in the 1920's, Greystone Mansion was the most expensive piece of real estate in Southern California.
5. Take a photo in the enchanting Central Courtyard.
Pass through the archway into the Central Courtyard of the Greystone Mansion, once used as a motor court, and look up at the medieval style turreted towers and steeply pitched roof.
The central fountain is beautiful and a popular place for photos and weddings. The Central Courtyard can hold up to 500 people for concerts, and apparently the acoustics are superb.
Can you see the firehouse through the gates, with the wood shingled roof? The fire engines were once parked in the three stalls on the main floor, and there were also apartments upstairs.
6. Stroll through the magnificent Portico.
Pass through the Central Courtyard to the portico at the back entrance of the mansion, where cars used to pull up. Look through the glass doors down the Grand Stairway that leads to the Grand Hall.
Continue along the paved breezeway to the West Courtyard that leads to the Front Terrace. Such a gorgeous Beverly Hills garden.
7. Visit the scene of the Greystone Mansion murder.
The Reflection Pond is at the end of the breezeway on the right, where you can spot koi and admire the beautiful lily pads.
The set of windows in the middle of the photo is the guest room where Ned Doheny was murdered, and the windows on the far right are the living room.
Here's another perspective of the Reflection Pool at the front of the house, where there are incredible 180 degree views of LA.
8. Peer inside the rooms along the Front Terrace.
The terrace runs along the front of the house, where you can peer through the front windows to get a good look at the interior of Greystone Mansion. All the windows and doors are framed in solid lead.
The rooms running from left to right are the Living Room, Card Room, Library, Dining Room, and Breakfast Room, and the bedrooms are on the second floor. It's rumored a little friend of one of the Doheny kids fell from an upper bedroom window in 1936.
Apparently the house is off the charts for paranormal activity, and park rangers have quit after spooky encounters that left them completely rattled. Can you feel any paranormal presence at Greystone Mansion?
The Front Terrace also gives you a close-up view of the gigantic chimneys on the house. Each of these was hand carved and designed by a different artisan. By now you're probably trying to figure out what the house is made out of, and it's actually a bit deceptive. The house has 3-foot thick concrete walls clad with Indiana Limestone, and the house was named "Greystone Mansion" because of the greyish tinge in the slate walls.
The roof is made from 3 to 4 inch tiles of Welsh slate, and if you look closely at the rain gutters below the roof-line, they are made from solid lead.
This 46,054 square foot mansion has an amazing 55 rooms, and a staff of 15 once lived in the servant quarters.
The most impressive room is the Card Room, with three sets of arched doors (pictured) that lead to the Front Terrace. The Card Room has a chequered black and white floor made from Italian marble, connected to a colonnaded Grand Hall and the Grand Stairway. The intricate woodwork on the hand carved balustrades on the stairway in the Grand Hall is incredible.
The Living Room is also stunning, with a hand carved minstrel gallery for musicians. Imagine hanging out in the living room while being entertained by musicians in the gallery! Look up at the two gunmetal steel chandeliers and vaulted ceiling. Back in the day there was also an 11-foot Baronial stone fireplace in this room.
The servants wing is just behind the formal living areas in the northeast corner of the house, and also includes the kitchen which has doubled as a morgue in a few movies.
9. Find the location of the old pool.
After exploring the Front Terrace, walk to the northwest corner of the property to the old Pool House, with beautiful arched trellises. It's pretty easy to figure out where the pool used to be. Just look down at the limestone coping that framed the pool, now fully bricked in because the empty pool was becoming a hazard.
Look more closely at the Pool House and the mens and women's dressing rooms on either side. This is one of the most popular places for a Greystone Mansion wedding!
10. Explore the upper gardens.
Continue walking up the hill towards the parking lot for beautiful views back over Los Angeles through this breathtaking Beverly Hills Garden.
A pathway leads to a few picnic tables behind the Pool House then back to the parking lot. The parking lot sits above the mansion, and was previously the site of formal gardens.
When the City of Beverly Hills purchased the property in 1965, they converted the gardens into a reservoir and put a parking lot on top. It's strange to know there's a cistern with 19.3 million gallons of water, directly beneath your feet.
Greystone Mansion is the most popular filming location in the world.
Greystone Mansion is so jaw-droppingly beautiful that it's been featured in over 70 movies since 1947. Greystone Mansion is one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills and the world for filming. Here's some of the movies filmed here:
Ghostbusters I (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989)
Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Bodyguard (1992)
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Air Force One (1997)
Spiderman I (2001) and Spiderman III (2007)
Charlies Angels Full Throttle (2002)
The Social Network (2010)
Star Trek Two (2012)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
There Will Be Blood is based on the life of Oil Tycoon Edward Doheny, who owned the Mansion.
Greystone Mansion was most famously used as a filming location for There Will Be Blood (2007). This Oscar winning movie starred Daniel Day Lewis, and was loosely based on the story of Oil Tycoon Edward Doheny. Watch the movie to see how Edward Doheny made his fortune from the oil boom that gripped Southern California. It won two oscars and was a huge commercial success bringing in $76 million globally.
Who owns Greystone Mansion now?
It's amazing that Greystone Mansion is still standing and that this Beverly Hills garden is still in-tact, because it actually came close to demolition a few times!
The house was originally built by Edward Doheny for his son Ned Doheny at a cost of $4 million, designed by master architect Gordon Kauffman and German landscape gardener Paule Thiene.
The main mansion is 46,054 square feet!!! There's ALSO a 15,666 square foot complex of buildings south of the house, that contain the original garage, greenhouse, stables and equipment room.
A short distance away is 1,800 square foot Gate House at the Doheny Gate, with seven rooms. It was once the original entrance to Greystone Mansion.
How did Edward Doheny make his fortune?
Edward Doheny had incredibly humble beginnings, and didn't strike it rich until a lot later in life. In his late thirties Edward Doheny was married with a sickly daughter who later died. A year later he and wife Carrie had a son, Ned Doheny.
Edward Doheny was barely making a living doing odd jobs and oil prospecting. However his fortunes changed when he drilled the first successful oil field in LA in 1892. This discovery occurred in downtown LA, and Edward Doheny was soon producing 40 barrels of oil a day This set off a massive petroleum boom in Southern California.
Edward Doheny and his wife became estranged, and divorced when Ned Doheny was six. Edward Doheny then married a young telephone operator, but tragedy struck when Edward Doheny's first wife, Carrie, suicided by drinking battery acid.
Edward Doheny then gifted a 12.58 parcel to his son, adjacent to the 429 acre Doheny Ranch he lived in. The Greystone Mansion was built on this land making it one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills.
In 1929 Edward Doheny's son Ned Doheny moved in to the Greystone Mansion with his wife Lucy Doheny and their five kids.
Five months later Ned Doheny was dead in an apparent murder-suicide with his assistant Hugh Plunkett. On February 16, 1929 Hugh Plunkett had arrived at the house late one night, and two shots later rang out. The situation around the Greystone Mansion murder was never investigated properly, and it's unclear exactly what happened.
However, there were many theories about the Greystone Mansion murder. Was Hugh just a disgruntled employee? Were Ned Doheny and Hugh carrying on an affair? Was Lucy Doheny the jealous wife? Was Hugh in a distressed mental state from his recent divorce? Did he have a breakdown that resulted in the shooting? Hugh was suffering from chronic insomnia according to the family doctor, and was also taking ten times the acceptable levels of sedatives. He was also in chronic pain with headaches and toothaches.
The bottom line is that no one really knows what happened with the Greystone Mansion murder, however it's fascinating to note that Hugh had been friends with Ned Doheny for 15 years and often traveled with him on business trips. He was more than just an employee and was a trusted family friend.
Lucy Doheny stayed at the Greystone Mansion and married an investment banker Leigh Battson in 1932, and in 1945 Lucy Doheny aquired the remaining 429 acres from her first mother-in-law.
Lucy Doheny's five kids grew up in the mansion roaming its expansive grounds, spending idyllic days roaming wide open spaces on horseback. They even had their own private riding master on staff. The trails passed through modern day Beverly Hills along famous streets like Sunset Boulevard. Back then horses had the right of way, and LA's famous highways were decades away from being built.
Once the kids left home, the house was too big for Lucy Doheny, and in 1955 Lucy Doheny sold off most of the land on the 429 acre ranch to the Paul Trousdale Corporation. Acres of wide open space in Beverly Hills soon became sub-divided into the Trousdale Estates. In 2019 the average price of house in the Trousdale Estates is $11 million!
Who was Greystone Mansion sold to?
In 1956 Lucy Doheny finally sold the Greystone Mansion to billionaire Chicago industrialist Henry Crown, and moved in next door to The Knoll. This white, neo-classical home is visible from Greystone Mansion and is also considered one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills. It's had many famous owners including Kenny Rogers.
Henry Crown was a successful industrialist, who once owned the Empire State Building in NY from 1951 to 1961. However he never lived in Greystone Mansion and instead leased it out for filming. In 1963 he considered demolishing the mansion and subdividing the land in this Beverly Hills garden, but a citizens committee was formed to prevent this.
In 1965 and after two years of intense negotiations The City of Beverly Hills bought Greystone Mansion for $1.1 million dollars, to use as a park with a sub surface reservoir. In 1971 it was formally dedicated as a City of Beverly Hills Park, and in 1976 it received a Historic Landmark Status by the Department of Interior.
The Greystone Mansion is now used for special events and filming, and different sections can be rented out like the East Courtyard, Front Terrace, and Reflection Pond.
Can I go inside one of Beverly Hills most famous houses?
The mansion's interior is closed to the public, however don't let this deter you from visiting. You can still get a good look at the Greystone Mansion's formal rooms like the ballroom and living room through the front windows. You can also peek at the room where Ned Doheny's body was found.
One of the best parts of Greystone Mansion is exploring all the nooks and crannies in this gorgeous Beverly Hills garden. There's so much to see, and so many pathways to choose from.
Know before you go
Address: 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Directions: Many visitors mistake the iron gate at the gatehouse on Doheny Road as the main entrance. The true entrance is just around the corner on Loma Vista Drive. A small green sign says "Greystone Park Entrance". It has a short driveway that leads to a large parking lot. It's very easy to get to. Best of all the parking is free.
Hours: check here.
Tours: Check the next date for a Tour of Greystone Mansion
Greystone Mansion Wedding: check here.