Visit the free gardens of one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills, appearing in movies like Spiderman and Star Trek.
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 was built in 1927-28 by Oil Tycoon, Edward Doheny and his wife Lucy Doheny. It was a wedding gift for their son Ned Doheny. Ned Doheny was murdered 5 months after moving into the mansion. The Greystone Mansion murder was never properly investigated and is shrouded in mystery.
It's free to visit the Greystone Mansion grounds, but the interior is only open for special events.
10 BEST things to do at Greystone Mansion
Greystone Mansion is a short drive north of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The magnificent 18.6-acre grounds at Greystone Mansion are free to visit. There are very occasional tours of the interior of the home, that require a paid ticket. 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: Front Terrace
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. You feel like you've stepped inside a dreamy 18th century English garden. What an incredible Beverly Hills garden! The rooftop of the Greystone Mansion also comes into view. 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. On the edge of the courtyard there's a dramatic double staircase. At the top is a formal lawned area. It's framed in by boxwood hedges and white roses to create an enchanting Beverly Hills garden.
Greystone Mansion: Formal Lawn Area
Get another perspective of the lawned area by walking to the cascading Italian Renaissance fountain at the end.
Greystone Mansion Fountain
3. Walk along the secluded Cyprus Walk.
Just below the formal lawned area is the Cyprus Walk. The 166-foot long pathway is hemmed in on either side by cyprus trees. This is like something out of Ancient Greece. There are eight gargoyle fountains on the adjacent sandstone wall. Look at the different faces on each gargoyle. It's so tranquil here. By now you definitely don't feel like you're in LA in this magnificent Beverly Hills garden.
Greystone Mansion Cyprus Walk
4. Learn the history of the Firehouse and Recreation Center.
Another set of stairs leads to the firehouse outside the Greystone Mansion in the East Courtyard. Many people mistake this for a car garage. Nope, it's actually a firehouse.
The estate once had it's own private fire department. Probably a great investment considering the value of the house! (The car garage is at the front of the property near the gatehouse on Doheny Road. It used to hold 8 cars. The mechanics lived in two rooms above the garage).
Back in the 1920's Greystone Mansion was the most expensive piece of real estate in Southern California. 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.
Below is the Recreation Centre building across from the firehouse. The Recreation Center houses the film room, bowling alley and billiard room. The bowling alley was a There Will Be Blood filming location (2007) with Daniel Day Lewis. It even has it's own ball return. The billiard room has a secret prohibition-era bar. It's hidden behind wood panels. Very sneaky!
Greystone Mansion: Recreation Center
5. Take a photo in the enchanting Central Courtyard.
Another walkway passes through an archway into the Central Courtyard of the Greystone Mansion. It was once a motor court.
Look up at the turreted towers and steeply pitched roof. It feels very medieval. The central fountain is beautiful and a popular place for photos. What a superb location for a Greystone Mansion Wedding. The slate pavers add a pop of color.
The Central Courtyard can hold up to 500 people for concerts. Apparently the acoustics are superb.
Greystone Mansion: Inner Courtyard
You can see the firehouse through the gates. It's the building with the wood shingled roof. The fire engines were once parked in the three stalls on the main floor. There were also apartments upstairs.
The fire engines must've been small to get through those small entrances! I couldn't imagine a modern day fire engine fitting in there.
6. Stroll through the magnificent Portico.
Pass through the Central Courtyard to the portico at the back entrance of the mansion. This is where cars used to pull up. Look through the glass doors down the Grand Stairway that leads to the Grand Hall. This is one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills.
Greystone Mansion: Portico
Continue along the paved breezeway to the West Courtyard then the Front Terrace. Such a gorgeous Beverly Hills garden.
Greystone Mansion: West Courtyard
7. Visit the scene of the Greystone Mansion murder.
The Reflection Pond is at the end of the breezeway on the right. Look down at the koi and lily pads.
A few steps away is the guest room where Ned Doheny was murdered. It's the set of windows in the middle of the photo. Check out the location of this famous Greystone Mansion murder.
The windows on the far right are the living room.
Here's another perspective of the Reflection Pool. You're now at the front of the house. The 180 degree views of LA are glorious from here.
Greystone Mansion: Reflection Pool Views.
8. Peer inside the front rooms along the Front Terrace.
The terrace runs along the front of the house. Can you imagine the parties out here while looking down at the LA lights! Peer through the front windows to get a great 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. 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! Park rangers have quit after spooky encounters that left them completely rattled. Can you feel any paranormal presence at Greystone Mansion?
The servants wing is just behind the formal living areas in the northeast corner of the house. This also includes the kitchen. The kitchen has doubled as a morgue in a few movies.
Greystone Mansion: Front Terrace.
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. It has 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. This is connected to a colonnaded Grand Hall and the Grand Stairway.
The intricate woodwork on the Grand Stairway's hand carved balustrades is incredible. The Greystone Mansion's interiors are stunning making it amongst the most famous houses in Beverly Hills.
The Living Room is also stunning. It has a hand carved minstrel gallery for musicians. Imagine hanging out in the living room while being entertained by musicians in the gallery. The acoustics are probably superb. Look up at the two gunmetal steel chandeliers and vaulted ceiling. Back in the day there was an 11-foot Baronial stone fireplace.
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. It's actually a bit deceptive. The house has 3-foot thick concrete walls clad with Indiana Limestone. The house was named "Greystone Mansion" because of the greyish tinge in the slate walls. Can you see it? It looks more beige to me.
The roof is made from 3 to 4 inch tiles of Welsh slate. Look closely at the rain gutters below the roof-line. They are made from solid lead.
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. It has 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. It's now been bricked in. Apparently 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. Get married in an incredible Beverly Hills garden.
Greystone Mansion: Pool House
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.
Greystone Mansion: Upper Gardens
A pathway leads to a few picnic tables behind the Pool House then back to the parking lot.
Greystone Mansion: Picnic Tables
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)
- X-men (2,000)
- 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 There Will Be Blood filming location (2007). This Oscar winning movie starred Daniel Day Lewis. It was actually loosely based on 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. 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. It was designed by master architect Gordon Kauffman and German landscape gardener Paule Thiene.
The main mansion is 46,054 square feet!!! Wow.
There's ALSO a 15,666 square foot complex of buildings south of the house. These contain the original garage, greenhouse, stables and equipment room.
A short distance away is 1,800 square foot Gate House at the Doheny Gate. It has seven rooms and was once the original entrance to Greystone Mansion.
How did Edward Doheny make his fortune?
Edward Doheny had incredibly humble beginnings. In fact he 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.
However Edward Doheny and his wife soon became estranged. They divorced when Ned Doheny was six. Edward Doheny then married a young telephone operator. Edward Doheny's first wife Carrie suicided by drinking battery acid.
Edward Doheny 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 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. Two shots later rang out. The situation around the Greystone Mansion murder was never investigated properly. It's unclear exactly what happened.
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. He was also taking ten times the acceptable levels of sedatives. Hugh 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. 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. 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. Her five kids spent 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. LA's famous highways were decades away from being built.
Once the kids left home, the house was too big for Lucy Doheny. 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. Henry Crown once owned the Empire State Building in NY from 1951 to 1961. He also wanted to add one Greystone mansion to his property portfolio, one of the most famous houses in Beverly Hills.
Lucy Doheny 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 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. A citizens committee was formed to prevent this.
In 1965 and after two years of intense negotiations The City of Beverly Hills bought it 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. In 1976 it received a Historic Landmark Status by the Department of Interior.
The Greystone Mansion is now used for special events and filming. What an incredible place to have a wedding or Corporate Event. Different sections can be rented out like the East Courtyard, Front Terrace, and Reflection Pond.
How fantastic would it be to rent the Card Hall or Grand Hall for an event, or have a Greystone Mansion Wedding.
Greystone Mansion Weddings.
Can I go inside one of Beverly Hills most famous houses?
The mansion's interior is closed to the public. The historical society occasionally runs a tour. 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.
- Admission: Free
- Parking: Free
- Tours: Check the next date for a Tour of Greystone Mansion
- Greystone Mansion Wedding: check here.