The Gamble House – the Architectural Crown Jewel of Pasadena by Bret Parsons

Gambler House- Hero

The Gamble House in Pasadena is the most complete and best-preserved example of Arts and Crafts style architecture in the United States. The house and furnishings were designed by architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of Proctor & Gamble fame (think Ivory soap and Crest toothpaste among 100s of products). The family commissioned the project as they began to spend winters in Pasadena, residing in the area’s resort hotels. By June 1907, the couple decided to build and purchased land on Westmoreland Place passing up more fashionable addresses on South Orange Grove Boulevard, more commonly known as “Millionaires’ Row.” Drawings were completed in February 1908; ground was broken in March. Ten months later, the first pieces of custom furniture arrived and the Gambles moved in: David, Mary, their youngest son Clarence, and Julia, who was Mary’s youngest sister. (Eldest son Cecil worked at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati; middle son Sidney was at Princeton.) Dad and Mom resided there until their deaths in 1923 and 1929, respectively. Cecil Huggins Gamble and wife Louise Gibbs Gamble moved in after Julia’s death in 1944, and briefly considered selling the property. They soon changed their minds, however, when prospective buyers spoke of painting the legendary interior woodwork white. The home remained in the family until 1966, at which time it was deeded to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California School of Architecture. The house, designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1978, is open for public and docent-led tours, plus specialty tours and programs. It’s obviously well worth your visit!