To say that the homes and estates of old Hollywood are grandiose is an understatement. I am not sure you can accurately put into words the lavish, opulent splendor that was the norm of these priceless relics. In our blog, we have taken a look at many of the estates that graced the Platinum Triangle during the 1920s, but none compare to the Greenacres Estate, the home of the famous comedian Harold Lloyd.
Harold Lloyd joined Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton at the top of the list of silent film stars. The three were known as the “Comedy Triumvirate,” but Lloyd quickly surpassed his co-stars in both fame and money. Lloyd was not shy about his popularity and wealth, deciding that his Benedict Canyon estate would be the most impressive and expensive piece of property in Beverly Hills.
Lloyd purchased fifteen acres of barren land to be the backdrop to his magnificent home. He spent the first several years of his project preparing the land, including grading the land, planting flowers, shrubs and trees and installing a nine-hole golf course complete with two lakes, a connecting stream and a beautiful stone bridge. He hired landscape architect A.E. Hansen to draw up plans and help him to create his outdoor oasis.
During the planning phase for the gardens, Lloyd and Hansen quickly realized that they needed to move forward with house designs since the home would directly affect the layout of the gardens and landscape. Hansen suggested Sumner Spaulding, an open-minded architect who created homes that fit the owners’ vision instead of adhering to the common architectural styles of the era. In 1926, construction began on the Greenacres estate home. Differences in opinion between Lloyd and Spaulding caused a year long delay, but by mid-1927, construction had begun again.
The 36,000-square-foot home featured forty-four luxurious rooms including a music room, library and large service quarters for the more than thirty servants that were employed at Greenacres. The home also boasted a stunning spiraling oak staircase and an elevator that went up to the ten bedrooms on the second floor. The dining room was a particularly famous spot in the home as the city limits of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles ran straight down the middle of the room. Guests sitting on one side of the massive twenty-four seat dining table were in Beverly Hills and those on the other side were in Los Angeles.
What makes Lloyd’s Greenacres Estate even more unique is the fact that Lloyd lived in his home until his death. Unlike many stars, he never lost his wealth and never felt the need to sell his property. At the time of his death, Lloyd turned the home over to the public and it became a museum that displayed the history of Old Hollywood. It was his dream for Greenacres to remain intact and one of the most beloved places in Beverly Hills, but unfortunately, this was not the dream of his family. In July of 1975, his children sold the estate and the museum was closed.