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Edward Laurence Doheny, a millionaire oil tycoon, gifted a sizable tract of land in Beverly Hills to his son, Ned, as a gift in 1927. Construction soon began on Greystone Mansion, marking the beginning of a three-year undertaking that would cost $4 million. The name “Greystone” came from the estate’s abundant use of Indiana limestone, which was grey in appearance. Greystone is 46, 000 sq. ft., consists of 55 rooms, and has stables, kennels, tennis courts, a firestone, greenhouse, and swimming pool and pavilion on the property. Greystone is now owned by the City of Beverly Hills and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Numerous movies and television shows have been filmed at Greystone Mansion, and it is only open for special events. 

Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills

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An Aerial View of Greystone Mansion

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The Lush Gardens at Greystone Mansion

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The Grand Entrance Hall Inside Greystone Mansion, Designed by William Eubanks and D. Mitchell Brown

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The Entrance to Greystone Mansion in the Trousdale Estates Neighborhood of Beverly Hills

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Historic Photo of the Gardens at Greystone Under Construction, 1927

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Ned Doheny, who died at Greystone Mansion in a murder-suicide with his secretary, Hugh Plunkett, in February 1929.

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In 1892, an unsuccessful gold and silver prospector named Edward Laurence Doheny arrived in Los Angeles County and purchased six hundred acres of barren land in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains to drill for oil. While much of this land did not prove to have an abundance of oil, Doheny would find his fortune in land nearby. Eventually, Doheny and his friend, Charles Canfield, also discovered substantial amounts of oil in Mexico, making them the largest producers of oil at that time. His land in L.A. County did produce countless orange and lemon trees, and in 1927, he gifted the property to his son Ned and his family.

Construction on Greystone Mansion began soon after, and it would cost more than $4 million and take three years to complete. The mansion was designed by Gordon P. Kaufmann and constructed by the P.J. Walker Company. The pristine gardens were created by landscape architect Paul Thiene, who was inspired by a mixture of Gothic and neoclassic styles. The opulent home has fifty-five rooms and covers 46,000 sq. ft. The walls are made of gray Indiana limestone that are three feet thick and there is a Welsh slate-shingled roof. The plumbing, designed for the seismic activity of California, is suspended on cables that sway when the earth shifts.

Ned, his wife Lucy, and their five children moved into the mansion during construction, but just five months later, Ned was found dead in the home in an apparent murder-suicide committed by his longtime friend and secretary, Hugh Plunkett. Although the reason for the murder-suicide remains unknown, one theory is that Plunkett was reacting in fear of being investigated for his and Doheny’s role in delivering bribe money to the Secretary of Interior, Albert Fall, during the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Lucy Doheny remained at Greystone with her children and second husband, Leigh Battson, until 1955, when they sold much of their land to the Paul Trousdale Corporation for the development of the Trousdale Estates neighborhood. The rest of the land was sold the next year to Henry Crown of Park Grey Corporation. Crown did not live in the mansion, but he did lease it out as a film location. In 1965, the City of Beverly Hills bought the property for just over $1 million and installed a 19-million-gallon water tank, which remains the largest reservoir in Beverly Hills.

In 1971, Greystone Mansion and its surrounding property was deemed a public park by the City of Beverly Hills. Five years later, Greystone was acknowledged as a historic landmark and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. The nonprofit Friends of Greystone was formed in 2001, and its mission is to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of the mansion. Greystone Mansion has served as a filming location for many TV shows and movies, including Gilmore Girls, Dark Shadows, ER, Ghostbusters, The Bodyguard, and Spider-Man.

The mansion itself is not open to tour, but it is available for filming and special events. The grounds of Greystone Mansion are open to the public, and the estate hosts the annual Beverly Hills Flower & Garden Festival, The Annual Hollywood Ball, and the Catskills West drama camp. The majestic Greystone Mansion, with its rich history filled with tragedy and mystique, remains one of Beverly Hills’ most prized locations.

History of Greystone, Greystone Mansion. Accessed May 30th 2022.

Los Angeles Times Staff. The sensational society killings that rocked L.A. — still a mystery 90 years later, Los Angeles Times. February 16th 2019. Accessed June 15th 2022.

About The Friends of Greystone, Greystone Mansion. Accessed June 18th 2022.

Films Featuring the Doheny Greystone Estate, Greystone Mansion. Accessed June 18th 2022.

Neamt, Ioana. Greystone Mansion: the Most Familiar House You’ve Never Visited, Fancy Pants Homes. July 9th 2021. Accessed June 18th 2022.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

LA Dreaming

Beverly Press

Love Beverly Hills

Organizing L.A.

Greystone Mansion

Greystone Mansion

University of Southern California