Stimson House is a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion near downtown Los Angeles, on Figueroa Street north of West Adams. Built in 1891, it was the home of lumber and banking millionaire Thomas Douglas Stimson. During Stimson’s lifetime, the house survived a dynamite attack by a blackmailer in 1896. After Stimson’s death, the house has been occupied by a brewer who reportedly stored wines and other spirits in the basement, a fraternity house that conducted noisy parties (causing consternation among occupants of neighboring mansions), as student housing for Mount St. Mary’s College, and as a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
When Stimson House was built in the 1890s, the Los Angeles Times described it as “the costliest and most beautiful private residence in Los Angeles,” a building “admired by all who see it.”
More than a hundred years later, the Times said: “From the front, the 31⁄2-story house resembles a medieval castle, with brick chimneys standing guard like sentries along the roof and an ornate four-storycrenelated tower on the northeast corner, a noble rook from a massive chess board.” With its $150,000 cost, it was the most expensive house that had been built in Los Angeles at the time.
From the day it was built, the 30-room house was a Los Angeles landmark. Neighbors and occupants have referred to it over the years as “the Castle” or the “Red Castle” due to its turret-top walls, four-story tower, and red-stone exterior.
The Stimson House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and has also been named a Historic-Cultural Monument (# 212) by the City of Los Angeles. Material prepared for the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission’s review of the Stimson house in 1977 called it “architecturally unique in Los Angeles,” “the best example of this period of American architecture in Los Angeles” and “one of the most significant structures in the Los Angeles area.”
WHAT: Stimson House
WHEN: Day time
WHERE: 2421 South Figueroa Street | Los Angeles, CA
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