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The Dark History of Greystone Mansion

They say every location in the world has a story to tell. Well, Los Angeles is a city full of historic buildings, landmarks, and structures, and each one indeed has a story behind it. However, not every story is a happy one- take for instance Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.


Greystone Mansion was built in 1926 by oil-tycoon, Edward Doheny Sr, as a wedding gift for his son, Edward Doheny Jr. (aka "Ned"). At the time of its construction, Greystone Mansion was the second largest house in California with fifty-five livable rooms and over 46,000 square feet of living space. Although edged out in size by Hearst Castle, the 12.58-acre Greystone Mansion estate took 3 years to complete at a cost of well over $3,000,000, making it the most expensive home ever built in California at that time. It should be noted that, by this time, Edward Doheny Sr.’s oil endeavors had made him one of the richest men in the world. However, Greystone Mansion would soon become a tragic backdrop to a family plagued by scandal, corruption, and murder.


After getting wrapped-up in the Teapot Dome Scandal, Doheny’s reputation was irreparably scarred with allegations of high-level political corruption and bribery, and the resulting trials would continue for the next several years. It was amidst this scandal—which also involved Ned Doheny and his secretary and childhood friend, Hugh Plunkett and which put the two at odds with one another—that the Greystone Mansion estate was finally completed.


Then, on Feb. 16, 1929, only five months after moving into Greystone Mansion, Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett, were mysteriously found shot to death inside the mansion. The account given by Ned’s wife, who was home at the time of the shooting along with the elder Doheny and the family doctor, did not seem to match the evidence at the crime scene. And while officially ruled a murder-suicide, some confounding factors were still left unexplained- leading to a range of speculation as to what really happened that night. If any of this sounds familiar to you, the story behind the Oscar-winning "There Will Be Blood" (one of the many films shot at Greystone Mansion) is loosely based on Doheny Sr. 

Eventually, the City of Beverly Hills purchased the estate and converted it into a public park. Greystone Mansion and Park are now preserved in the National Register of Historic Places. If you would like to visit Greystone Mansion, it is located less than 20 minutes from Larchmont Village at 905 Loma Vista Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210. The estate grounds are open to the public, and parking is free!  I have been lucky enough to visit several times & even enjoyed a tour inside for a friend’s birthday.






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