Situated on "Millionaire’s Row," along tree-lined Orange Grove Boulevard and Madeline Drive, the John S. Cravens Estate is one of the largest and most significant architectural treasures in the prestigious community of Pasadena, California.
Surrounded by brick walls, wrought iron gates, and matured trees, the estate was built in the late 1920s for Mr. and Mrs. John S. Cravens. He was President of the Edison Electric Co., one of the predecessors of Southern California Edison Co. Mildred Mary Myers was the daughter of George S. Myers, a cofounder of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company.
Using only the finest materials and world-renowned designers, artisans, and workers, the Cravens Estate boasts approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of living space and was constructed of steel reinforced concrete, brick veneer, imported European finishes, and a Vermont slate roof. It was famous for being the most expensive home ever built in Pasadena, according to a Los Angeles Times story dated February 6, 1955.
The architect was San Francisco-based Lewis P. Hobart, whose work included the iconic Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and the 511 Federal Building in Portland, Oregon. He participated in the rebuilding of San Francisco after the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Hobart was best known for his private estates in Northern California. The Cravens Estate was his only known commission in Southern California.
The builder was the P.J. Walker Company, builder of the historic Doheny Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The Greystone Mansion and Cravens Estate would be their only recorded residential commissions in Southern California. Their other architecturally significant projects in Southern California include Los Angeles Times Building and Bullock's Wilshire in Los Angeles, and Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara. Few builders had a greater impact on the region than P.J. Walker.
The murals in the Grand Gallery were originally painted in 1930 by mural artist Ernest Pexiotto, who was born in San Francisco and studied in France. He was Director of the Mural Department of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York, President of the National Society of Mural Painters, and President of the School Art League of New York. Most of his work were murals commissioned by wealthy private individuals. The murals were restored in 2010 by the Pasadena Showcase House of Design.
After Mr. and Mrs. Cravens passed away in the 1940s, the estate passed through several owners and some parts were sold separately. It was donated by Mr. Simon G. Zervos, an industrialist and bakery owner, to the American Red Cross in 1962. Today, it sits on an acre and a half of grounds in one of the prettiest areas of Pasadena.
The Cravens Estate was honored with the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation Award in 1965 and designated as a Cultural Heritage Landmark by the City of Pasadena in 1971. In 2010, it was honored as the Pasadena Showcase House of Design and underwent partial restoration and renovation by many talented and well-known local designers.
It currently serves as the headquarters of the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, housing a small staff and volunteers. It serves as the command center for the First Aid Stations at the annual Rose Parade, and has been a popular filming location for hit TV shows, movies, and commercials.
The American Red Cross is extremely grateful for the generosity and support of donors, volunteers and the local community that have allowed them to furnish, maintain and occupy the Cravens Estate. To align their real estate holdings with their humanitarian mission requirements, the American Red Cross has decided to sell the Cravens Estate after 55 years.
The American Red Cross intends to honor the heritage and beauty of the mansion. Thus, they are marketing the property to potential buyers who appreciate the historic nature and architectural significance of the estate, and will add their own chapter to the illustrious history of this important Cultural Heritage Landmark.
Approximately 19,970 sq. ft. of living space on 1.51-acre lot (per tax assessor).
Shown by appointments only.
Sotheby’s International Realty
Beverly Hills Brokerage
9665 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Sotheby’s International Realty
800 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91101
Josie Tong of Sotheby’s International Realty has been a supporter of the American Red Cross for over 35 years. She is currently a board member of the American Red Cross Santa Monica Bay Chapter and Chair of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle – Los Angeles Region.
Josie and Gretchen are donating 100% of their net commissions and marketing expenses for the Cravens' Estate to the American Red Cross.
This website is not the official website of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. does not make any representation or warranty regarding any information, including without limitation its accuracy or completeness, contained on this web site. Real estate agents affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. are independent contractors and are not employees of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Sotheby’s International Realty CalBRE#: 899496.
*All American Red Cross affiliated materials and signage will be removed from the estate prior to the close of escrow.
Photo Credits: Douglas Hill of Douglas Hill Photography · Tiffany Tong of Tiffany T Studios / Video Credit: Copper Film Co.
Historic Images: Huntington Library, Pasadena Heritage, and Red Cross Archives