Built in 1928 as the lavish wedding present from oil tycoon Edward Doheny to his son Edward “Ned” Doheny, Jr. and his wife Lucy, this 55-room, 16-acre Tudor estate was, at the time, the most expensive home in California. Just five months after the couple moved in, in early 1929, Ned was tragically shot to death in the mansion, killed by a distraught friend who in turn killed himself. Lucy continued living in the home until 1955, but Ned’s ghost is still thought to roam the property.
Ned’s murder was often rumored to be a ripple effect of the Teapot Dome Scandal, a rate-fixing bribe between Albert Fall, the Harding Administration’s Secretary of the Interior and, among others, Doheny, Sr.’s company, Pan American Petroleum, over oil reserves in California; when exposed, this shocking deal resulted in Fall’s imprisonment and the public disgrace of Doheny, Sr.
However, Ned’s murderer, Hugh Plunkett, was his own personal aide and increasingly close confidante; just prior to the murder, Plunkett had (reportedly) been exhibiting signs of a nervous disorder and had filed for divorce from his wife. Gossiped about as a cover-up of either Lucy’s crime or a homosexual affair, the facts surrounding Ned’s death were never fully publicized, as his father’s fortune was enough to keep the most lurid details out of the papers.
Purchased by the City of Beverly Hills in the 1960s (in order to save it from demolition by commercial real estate developers) and later added to the National Register of Historic Places, the grounds of Greystone have been designated as a public park since 1971. Always facing a financial deficit, these grounds host a variety of annual fundraising events, such as the Beverly Hills Flower and Garden Festival and a vintage automobile show called the Concours d’Elegance.
On weekends, the mansion’s grounds are often closed for special events. If you’re planning a weekend visit, call ahead to (310) 285-6830 to avoid disappointment.