Gamble House in Pasadena


The Gamble House in Pasadena

4 Westmoreland Place

Pasadena California 91103


Written by Scott Messmore

Pasadena has many historical sites, but the preserved Gamble House shows the city's architectural heritage as well. Surrounded by beautiful trees and lush greenery, Gamble House is considered by many to be the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. In the late 1890s, the Greene Brothers, Charles and Henry, moved from the Midwest to live with their family in then tiny Pasadena. The Greene brothers made a stop at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Both men had been trained as architects at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and were impressed by an exhibit of Japanese woodwork. Japanese builders would use wood timbers and join them perfectly to create a house. With their background in scientific building, the new impact of Japanese wood joinery and the beautiful vistas of Pasadena, the Greene brothers were soon building some of the most unique homes in California. The Gamble House is the only surviving Greene brothers' project that still has the original furniture inside.

The Arts and Crafts Movement

The Arts and Crafts Movement rejected much of the Industrial Revolution's emphasis on machinery and factories. Craftsmen and artists began to create houses and furniture by hand or at least custom made for clients. Movement followers were also preaching a simpler form of living for the new century. The Greene brothers' masterpiece, the Gamble House, was built for David and Mary Gamble, of the Procter & Gamble Company, in 1908. The Gamble House is built with large overhangs to provide shade from the sun, much like Japanese or Swiss homes. Many of the wooden beams protrude from the outside of the home, similar to Japanese structures. The Greene brothers used teak, mahogany, maple, cedar and oak in the Gamble House. The Greene brothers built several large homes for wealthy families who lived in Pasadena. World War I and the ensuing Roaring Twenties dismissed the Arts and Crafts Movement, but the importance of the Gamble House is still studied by architectural students and artists.

Gamble House Restoration

To preserve the Gamble House for future generations, a restoration program is underway with the aim of returning the home to its original condition. During the 1930s, green paint was applied to the Gamble House exterior, covering the natural beauty of the wood. Efforts are being made to remove the green paint and reseal the wood, provide a damp resistant foundation layer and restore office space to its original 1908 condition. To aid with the Gamble House restoration, call the Gamble House Development Office at the University of Southern California at 213-740-4471.

Hours of Operation and Location

The Gamble House is located at 4 Westmoreland Place, three blocks north of Colorado Boulevard. Tours of the house are given from noon to 3 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Gamble House is closed on major holidays. Group tours of 10 or more will need a reservation at least one month in advance. Tickets are: general admission, $10; seniors and full-time students, $7. A bookstore is open on site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information about the Gamble House, call 626-793-3334.

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