The Daily Mirror

Los Angeles history

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July 19, 1908

July 19, 2008 |  9:36 am

Above, details of the Gilbert B. Perkins home on Hillcrest in Pasadena.

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Dropcap_t_tarzan his was a fun little mystery, complicated by The Times using the wrong middle initial for Gilbert Perkins in the caption.

Perkins sold the home in 1914 to oil executive Frank W. Emery for a reported $125,000 ($2,591,561.05 USD 2007). After Emery died in 1920, the property at 1400 Hillcrest Ave. was sold to Mary Virginia McCormick, daughter of Cyrus H. McCormick, the head of International Harvester. (The Times originally identified her as his sister -- ahem).

Mary McCormick apparently planned to demolish the original house to build what The Times called the most expensive home in Pasadena at a cost of $195,000 ($2,289,010.35 USD 2007).  However, a 1927 story says that Mary McCormick had extensively remodeled and renovated the home, which contained about 50 rooms. 

In 1938, Mary McCormick hosted the wedding of her brother, Harold, the chairman of the board of International Harvester, and his private nurse, Adah Wilson. He was 66 and she was 31.

Mary McCormick died in 1941 at the age of 80 at her estate in Santa Monica, The Times said, and her belongings were sold at auction (at left).

She was something of a recluse, The Times said, who divided her time between her two large estates and kept three musicians on her staff of more than 30 servants. She occasionally hired great symphony orchestras to play for her privately, The Times said.

In 1945, after years of neglect, the 24-room mansion, 14-room guest house, two-story, 14-car garage and 26-acre estate was sold for $115,000 ($1,342,082.63) and divided into two parcels. Edward Tobin of Monrovia bought 12 acres and the realty firm of Smith and Son bought the 14-acre parcel.

According to, the present home at 1400 Hillcrest was built in 2004.

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