The impressive Fenyes Estate was a summer home to three generations of East Coast Fenyes, a wealthy publishing family. The Beaux Arts Mansion was built in 1906 by noted architect Robert D. Farquhar and five years later a two-story addition was built by by Sylvanus Marston. The family used this magnificent mansion to entertain prominent artists, writers, musicians and scientists. The Mansion took on additional stature as the Finnish Consulate during Y.A. (“George”) Paloheimo’s 16-year tenure in that post (1948-1964) per Pasadena Museum of History.
Fenyes Estate was featured in many Hollywood movies. It served as the White House in “ELEANOR & FRANKLIN: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS,” and was also featured in the 1979 movie “BEING THERE,” with Peter Sellers. One of the paneled dens inside the mansion played a key role in Disney’s “NEWSIES” (1992).
In 1970, the mansion, residing on 2.1 acres of land with beautiful gardens, was donated to the Pasadena Museum of History by the family complete with original furnishings, artwork, and numerous personal items. It is currently undergoing renovations, but expected to be opened sometime next year to the general public.
Today, Pasadena Museum of History offers special exhibits like the Mad for Hats which we featured right here on the 365 Things To Do In Pasadena®. It also has the most amazing collection of resources including historical documents and photographs that brings early Pasadena to life. If you are interested in learning more about the history of your Pasadena home, you can visit the research center on the lower level of the museum. You can even research your lineage with the help of the friendly staff.
While you’re visiting the Fenyes Mansion, stop by the Finnish Folk Art Museum located on the grounds in front of the estate. Furnished in the style of a 19th century Finnish farmhouse, this unique exhibition provides a fascinating glimpse into Finland’s tradition and culture and reminds visitors that the Fenyes Mansion once served as the Finnish Consulate.
A truly beautiful spot to explore, have a picnic and take lots of pictures. And, of course, the Gamble House is right around the corner!
Pasadena Museum of History
470 W Walnut St
Pasadena, CA 91103