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Zane Grey Estate

  • Address: 396 E Mariposa St
  • Vicinity: Marengo Ave
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Historic District

Built to withstand Fires and Earthquakes

Constructed in 1907, the Zane Grey Estate is one of Altadena's most significant properties due to its design by two of Southern California's most prominent architects, Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey. In association with an internationally known long-term owner, Zane Grey and his family, and its prominence within the historic context of Altadena's growth and development during the first few decades of the twentieth century. - NRHP 9 September 2002



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1907/00/00 Edith Norton Woodward Home Main section of the house built for Arthur and Edith Woodward
1907/00/00 Elmer Grey Architect Main section of the house built for Arthur and Edith Woodward
1907/00/00 Myron Hunt Architect Main section of the house built for Arthur and Edith Woodward
1920/00/00 Zane Grey Home bought by Zane Grey, third floor writing room added
1939/10/23 Zane Grey Died Zane Grey passes away in the master bedroom of his Altadena home with his family at his side

Data »

Particulars for Zane Grey Estate:
Sight Category Historic District
Area of Significance Literature
Architectural Style Mission-Spanish Revival
Criteria Person
Owner Private
Historic Use Professional
Historic Use Single dwelling
Level of Significance State

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 24th October 2002

Registry Name: Grey, Zane, Estate
Registry Address: 396 E. Mariposa St.
Registry Number: 02001187
Resource Type: District
Owner: Private
Architect: Hunt, Myron; Grey, Elmer
Architectural Style: Mission-spanish revival
Area in Acres: 1
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Level of Significance: State
Area of Significance: Literature
Applicable Criteria: Person
Associated People: Grey, Zane
Historic Function: Commerce, Trade, Domestic
Historic Sub-Function: Single dwelling, Professional
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-Function: Single dwelling

History »

In 1906, Arthur H Woodward, President of International Register Company (now Intermatic Corporation) of Chicago, Illinois and his wife commissioned prominent architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey to build their Altadena, California home. The Woodward's had very specific requests about the construction of their home. They requested that the home be made entirely of reinforced concrete and must be made to be entirely fireproof. This was due to Mrs Woodward being a survivor of the Iroquois Theater fire of 1903 in Chicago. Furthermore, the doors to the first floor all open outward allowing for easy egress.

Woodward family accounts recall that Mrs Woodward was saved from being trampled to death due to someone seeing her arm waving underneath the victims of the fire. It was her request that the house be made as fireproof as possible, and since they were moving to California, it was also constructed to withstand an earthquake. It is estimated that the Woodward house and surrounding property cost in excess of $100000 to construct in 1907.

Altadena's early twentieth century development took place primarily between 1887 and 1910. The short-lived Pasadena Land Company, which founded and initially laid out the community, saw that the first spurt of development was Altadena's most influential and wealthiest residents. They constructed large, architecturally significant homes. The Zane Grey Estate is the largest remaining house with an estimated square footage exceeding 12,000 square feet. The square footage of the original 1907 house was 7240.

The first major modification was in 1920 when the house was purchased by Zane Grey. Shortly after Zane Grey acquired the property, he added a seven hundred square foot writing studio as a third floor, directly over the foyer. The third floor was designed to provide complete privacy to Grey while writing. The third floor was designed in two sections that are separated by a support beam. The ceiling of the third floor is barrel-vaulted and comes together at the support beam. The room has built in bookcases that line the perimeter of much of the studio. Most of Grey's novels, articles and periodicals from 1920 until his death in 1939 were written in the east wing. His desk and famous Morris chair were positioned in front of the fireplace, although some early photographs show him facing the large picture window. - NRHP, 9 September 2002

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