Designed in 1908 for Procter & Gamble heirs, David and Mary Gamble, the Gamble House is example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. Charles and Henry Greene designed many “ultimate Bungalows’ around the turn of the 1900s century.
These large dwellings represented a reinterpretation of the California Bungalow, but on a larger grand scale. The Gamble House is a prime example. Currently, the house is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California.
But at one time, it was the winter home of David and Mary Gamble, who fled to California to escape the harsh Ohio winters. After their deaths, other family members continued to reside there until the property was willed to the City of Pasadena in 1964. In addition to the Arts and Crafts style architecture, the Gamble house highlights Greene and Greene’s use of tropical woods with inlays of wood, metal and mother of pearl.
For the tours the house has been staged with vintage era furniture, some of it original to the house and other parts salvaged from other demolished Arts and Crafts style houses in the area.
Photographs by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix
Visitors to the House from August 1st until the 18th will be able to see and experience – for the first time since the house has been opened to public tours – the upstairs and downstairs servant’s quarters and work areas.
Between 1900 and 1940, at least, the Gambles had several servants and a cook to service the family needs. Census records reveal that their Cincinnati, Ohio home had a servant by the name of Emma Fritz who parents were born in Germany. Emma Fritz may have traveled with the family to California or not, but by 1910 the Gambles had two new servants: Mary Mc Quillan, a cook who was born in Ireland, and Jennie Vail, born in Colorado, a maid. By 1920, a new maid and cook had taken over, the Croatia born Ljuba Sirolla along with American born, Elizabeth Toner. Mary Gamble signed Ljuba’s naturalization papers and it is believed that she had a very close, almost friend relationship with the family.
It is these servants’ living and working quarters that are on view for the first time while the downstairs oak flooring is being refinished. This unfortunately means that the Tree of Life front door foray is not available for viewing. But what visitors will see are to see special pieces of Greene & Greene-designed furniture, original laundry sinks and the coal room in the basement, along with other unique pieces and places not usually seen on the tour.
There will be a maximum of 10 people permitted on each tour, and this tour is not wheelchair accessible and persons with limited mobility should consider carefully whether they can negotiate going up and down stairs before taking this tour.
The Gamble House: Upstairs-Downstairs
Thursday, Aug. 1st- Sunday, Aug. 18th only
Tuesdays, 12:15 and 12:45 p.m
Thursdays-Sundays, every half hour, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
No tours Mondays and Wednesdays
Tickets: $20; free for children 12 and under
4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena 91103
For more info, visit GambleHouse.org or call 626.793.3334