The Emery Home: from South Orange Grove to Green Street

Among the mansions that lined South Orange Grove Avenue at the turn of the century, the home at 707 has experienced a more varied history than most.

Originally built in 1895 by the firm of Blick and Moore for George Hopkins, it was purchased by Frank Emery in January, 1896.  Mr. Emery was a large stockholder in Standard Oil, and a large land owner in Pasadena. 

An early postcard view of the Emery home at 707 South Orange Grove Avenue.
An early postcard view of the Emery home at 707 South Orange Grove Avenue. (Postcard Collection)

The distinctive “mission style” architecture of the home attracted attention from the start.  The home was used to illustrate an article on residence architecture in the Los Angeles Times in 1899, and several views of the home appeared in an article in House and Garden in April 1905.  The magazine noted that “This  style, which is so recently born and yet so distinctive, is a conglomerate composed of efflorescent Spanish and Moorish features molded in with the severe and heavy  (but always picturesque) lines of the old California mission buildings. …The two views given of a house of this description show plainly why a habitation built on these lines is most desirable here.”

The home had a succession of owners until 1950, when apartments would be constructed at 707 South Orange Grove Avenue. Hulett Merritt, who lived at 99 Terrace Drive, moved the front section of the home to 386 West Green Street, to house part of his extensive art collection.  After his death in 1956, the sale of that collection was said to be the largest on the west coast since the estate of William Randolph Hearst. 

From 1957 to 1966, the former home was owned by the Golden State Arms Corporation, which billed itself as the world’s largest retail gun shop.  The home was then acquired by Ambassador College, which used it as a personnel office and later a television studio.  It was demolished several years ago for the condominiums being constructed at Jamieson Place.

- Kirk Myers

This article was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of West Pasadena Residents' Association's The News.