|The Gamble House turns 50 years old as a museum tomorrow. The stunning example of Arts & Crafts architecture was designed by architects Greene & Greene at the turn of the 20th century in Pasadena, CA. |
Photo: Courtesy of PasadenaNow.com
On January 14, 1966, members of the Gamble family, the City of Pasadena, and the University of Southern California signed a formal gift agreement, and in September of that year the doors of the Gamble House were opened to the public. In the half century since then, The Gamble House has become one of the most beloved premier historic sites in America.
|Originally published December 23, 2015.|
Visitors continue to visit, week in and week out, from around the world to marvel at the beauty imbedded in every square foot of The Gamble House. They come to experience what Charles Greene called “architecture as a fine art.” Hailed by the American Institute of Architects as “formulators of a new and native architecture,” Charles Sumner Greene (1868–1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870–1954) designed houses and furnishings a century ago that established a new paradigm for the art of architecture in the United States. Drawing on the skills of outstanding craftsmen, as well as their own polytechnic training, formal architectural education, and natural artistic sensibilities, Greene and Greene created legendary living environments that were beautiful, functional and modern.
The flowering of the Greenes’ careers together was brief and typically benefited a discriminating and wealthy clientele. They produced their most characteristic work between 1906 and 1914, primarily in and around Pasadena. Of their fully coordinated houses with interior furnishings, only the Gamble House survives intact.
For more information on the Gamble House and their 50th Anniversary please visit www.gamblehouse.org.
About The Gamble House
The Gamble House was designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene. It was commissioned by David and Mary Gamble, of Cincinnati, Ohio, as a winter residence.
David Berry Gamble, a second generation member of the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, had retired from active work in 1895, and with his wife, Mary Huggins Gamble, began to spend winters in Pasadena, residing in the area’s resort hotels. By 1907, the couple had decided to build a permanent home in Pasadena. In June of that year, they bought a lot on the short, private street, Westmoreland Place, passing up the more fashionable addresses on South Orange Grove, known at that time as “Millionaires’ Row.”
At the same time the Gambles were selecting their lot on Westmoreland Place, a house designed by the firm of Greene & Greene was being built for John Cole on a nearby lot. Perhaps meeting the architects at the construction site, and certainly impressed with the other Greene & Greene houses in the Park Place neighborhood, the Gambles met with the brothers and agreed on a commission.
The architects worked closely with the Gambles in the design of the house, incorporating specific design elements such as the family crest among its motifs. Drawings for the house were completed in February 1908, and ground was broken in March. Ten months later, the house was largely finished, the first pieces of custom furniture were delivered, and The Gamble House became the winter home to David Gamble, his wife Mary, and their youngest son Clarence. (Their oldest son Cecil was already working for Procter & Gamble, and their middle son Sidney was at Princeton University.) Mary’s younger sister, Julia, also came to live with the family. By the summer of 1910, all the custom-designed furniture was in place.
David and Mary lived in the house until their deaths in 1923 and 1929, respectively. Cecil Huggins Gamble and his wife Louise Gibbs Gamble began living in the house after Julia’s death in 1944, and briefly considered selling it. They soon changed their minds, however, when prospective buyers spoke of painting the legendary interior woodwork white! The Gambles realized the artistic importance of the house and it remained in the Gamble family until 1966, when it was deeded to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California School of Architecture.