If you enjoy exploring the historic homes of famous, and not-so-famous people, there are a number of historic residences in Southern California that are open to the public as museums. Most of them are City, State and National Historic Landmarks There is some overlap with LA Local History Museums
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The Missions and Ranchos have such a unique position in telling the history of southern California that I have created a separate page for Los Angeles Missions and Ranchos
2. Adamson House in Malibu
23200 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 456-8432 www.adamsonhouse.org
The Adamson House at Malibu Lagoon was built in 1930 for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson. The Spanish colonial Revival house can be seen on docent-led tours. The adjacent Malibu Lagoon Museum interprets Malibu history from the early Chumash Indians through Spanish California.
3. The Banning Museum
401 East M Street
Wilmington, CA 90744
(301) 548-7777 www.banningmuseum.org
The Banning Residence, built in 1864, was the home of Phinneas Banning, a stage and freight entrepreneur who was instrumental in building the Port of Los Angeles. The 23-room Greek-Revival Victorian home has been restored with influences from the 60 years that the family lived in the home. 18 rooms and the Stage Barn are open to the public.
4. Bembridge House
953 Park Circle Drive
Long Beach, Ca
(562) 493-7019 www.lbheritage.org Bembridge House
is a 1906 Queen Anne Victorian house in the Drake Park, Willmore City Historic District west of Downtown Long Beach. The 18-room house has been preserved with its original high ceilings, hand-carved woodwork, and many original furnishings. The Bembridge House is operated by Long Beach Heritage and is open for tours on Tuesday afternoons and one Saturday a month with special holiday programs.
1601 West Mountain Ave
Glendale, CA, 91201
(323) 251-9697 glendalehistorical.org
The Doctors House Museum
, owned by four doctors in succession before being acquired by silent screen actress, Nell Shipman, was relocated from central Glendale to its current home in Brand Park. The Queen Anne-Eastlake style home, built around 1888, is operated by the Glendale Historical Society, which was formed in 1979 specifically to save this historic house.
6. Doheny Mansion
10 Chester Place
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 477-2962 www.dohenymansion.org
The Romantic Revival Doheny Mansion was built in 1898 by architects Theodore Eisen and Sumner Hunt. It was purchased by oil baron Edward L. Doheny in 1901 and remained the family home for 60 years. Its architecture includes Gothic, Chateauesque, Moorish and California Mission styles. The mansion is part of the downtown campus of Mount St. Mary's College. Public tours are offered several days a year. Group tours can be organized for 10 to 40 people.
7. Eames House
203 Chautauqua Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 459-9663 eamesfoundation.org
The Eames House
was designed by Charles and Ray Eames as Case Study House #8 as part of The Case Study House Program from Arts and Architecture
magazine. The Mid-Century Modern modular home, designed for the two architects after their children had already left the home, is now operated by the Eames House Foundation. The house can be visited on a person tour for up to 4 people for a hefty fee with at least a week's advance reservation reservation only. Group tours for up to 25 people can only visit the grounds, with a view into the house through the windows. Reservations are also required for these exterior group tours.
Visitors have to park on Corona Del Mar and walk up the drive so they get the full effect of the house's natural setting.
Exhibits about the Charles and Ray Eames and the house are on display at the Eames Office
in Santa Monica.
8. The Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Place
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 793-3334 www.gamblehouse.org
The Gamble House in Pasadena was designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company. It is an one of the best examples of American Arts and Crafts style architecture and interior decoration, with the interior furnishings also designed by the architects. The house can only be visited on docent-led public tours.
9. Greystone Mansion
905 Loma Vista Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 285-6830 www.greystonemansion.org www.beverlyhills.org/
I'm including Greystone Mansion (not to be confused with the nightclub Greystone Manor) because a lot of people have heard of it, but you can't actually visit the house except during special evens. The gardens, however are open to the public during the day unless there's a private event going on.
10. Grier Musser Museum
403 South Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 413-1814 griermussermuseum.org
The Grier Musser Museum
is a historic Queen Anne Victorian house in Downtown LA that is open to the public by reservation. The museum features period furnishings and holiday-themed exhibits for Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas.