On Sunday, Larry and I were invited to the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party for the Los Angeles Conservancy. This year the meet-up was set for The Doheny Mansion on Chester Place, St. James Park, Los Angeles. This is now part of Mount Saint Mary's University, close to the USC Campus, near Adams and Figueroa. I'd been to the mansion years earlier for a musical performance, but never during daylight hours.LA Conservancy Volunteers, assembling for group photo
The mansion was owned by oil baron, Edward L. Doheny. It was built in 1901 and is a combination of Gothic, English Tudor and California Mission architectural style. The interior has been remodeled over the years, but the basic footprint of the home is intact. We were allowed to tour the lower floor rooms (excluding the kitchen area). All of the rooms are very grand, decorated beautifully and maintained perfectly. I took a picture of the Pompeii Room, before I was told that interior photos were not allowed. The dome in the Pompeii Room is by Louis Comfort Tiffany, famous for his work with stained glass.Tiffany designed dome of the Pompeii Room
There were docents in each of the areas to give us some background history of the place. The Doheny Mansion can be rented for private parties, meetings, filming and conferences. You can also tour the mansion with an advance reservation. I think that you can just walk around this gated community during daylight hours. It's worth a visit, just to see how the fancy people lived in the early 1900's in L.A.
Chester Place was the first gated community in Los Angeles. As we walked around the neighborhood, we noticed many other beautiful large homes. None of the other houses seemed to be as large or grand as the Doheny mansion though. We noticed a small chapel in the modernist style, probably built in the late 1960's. It looked out of place among those 100+ year-old buildings, but it was my favorite building that day. I'm a modernist at heart.
It looks approachable, not gloomy and foreboding like the mansions. That's another reason why I love Los Angeles....you find little pockets of history all over this town!