History of the Property


On this site, at 275 Arlington Drive, once stood one of the most elegant homes on South Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena's "Millionaires' Row." In April of 1902, John Durand purchased 10 acres-half a block of property known as "Arlington Heights." Originally laid out in 1885, Arlington Drive extended 1,012 feet from South Orange Grove to Pasadena Avenue.

After the existing Victorian home was removed, a team of skilled workmen spent more than three years executing architect F.L. Roehrig's reconstruction of a chateau in France admired by Mr. Durand. Almost every piece of wood in the home was hand carved, and the exquisitely finished interiors of oak, walnut and mahogany were complemented with the "dull glitter of gold" - a gold alloy was freely used on doorknobs, handles of drawers and hinges on the first floor.

With 17,000 square feet of floor space - fifty rooms in three stories - the home was said to be the largest in Southern California, if not the entire southwest, presenting a "baronial" appearance. Red Arizona sandstone, brought in from Flagstaff, was an exterior feature of the French Norman Architecture.

A setback of more than 600 feet from South Orange Grove allowed landscape architects to create a "tropical paradise" in front of the mansion, with "palms, cacti and century plants besides hundreds of varieties of flowering bushes, including roses and chrysanthemums." A hedge of Cherokee roses extended along Arlington Drive, toward the Busch home on the opposite side of Orange Grove. A small orange grove was set out in the rear of the home, along Pasadena Avenue.

The property remained with the family until John M. Durand III died in 1960. The furnishings and art objects were then sold at public auction in 1961, and the home was razed.

Today, a century after the Durand home was completed in 1905, gardens are again being planted on the remaining three acres of the original site. Portions of the red sandstone have been uncovered - reminders of a time when Pasadena's "Millionaires' Row" was known throughout the nation, and the Durand home was pointed out to visitors as one of the finest in the city.