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The Stimson House from “House II: The Second Story”

Oct 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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After stalking Mills View, the Monrovia-area residence that appeared in the 1986 movie House, I started doing some online research on the flick’s 1987 sequel, House II: The Second Story, and came across information about the Stimson House, an incredibly unique, castle-like property located in Los Angeles’ West Adams District.  I was immediately intrigued by the home and, because it has been featured in several spooky productions over the years, figured it would fit right in with my Haunted Hollywood theme and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk the place a short time later.  Incredibly though, thanks to the abode’s unusual beauty and prominent history, this was one location that he actually did not mind being dragged to!

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The 3 1/2-story Stimson House was originally built in 1891 as a retirement home for Chicago lumberman/financier Thomas Douglas Stimson.  The 12,800-square-foot, 30-room property was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by architect Carroll H. Brown and featured an Arizona red sandstone façade, a 4-story octagonal corner tower, stained glass windows, gabled Gothic arches, Palladian windows, and brick chimneys.  The interior, which was dubbed “a shrine to lumber” by Jake Doherty in a January 1994 Los Angeles Times article, consisted of oak flooring, hand-carved wood-paneled walls, beamed ceilings, custom-built china cabinets, and made use of over 8 different kinds of wood, including ash, sycamore, walnut, gumwood, birch, mahogany, oak, and monkeypod.  Construction on the residence was completed in 1893 and cost approximately $130,000, making it, at the time, the most expensive home in all of Los Angeles.  After Stimson passed away in February 1898, his widow, Achsah, continued to live at the residence until her death in 1904.  The property was then sold and underwent several ownership changes until 1940, at which time it was purchased by the USC chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for $20,000.  For the next 8 years, the Stimson House became the site of boisterous parties, elaborate pranks, and late-night frolicking.

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At the time, Carrie Estelle Doheny, the widow of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny, lived in the mansion located directly behind the Stimson House and was not at all happy with her rowdy neighbors.  After filing countless complaints with the USC president, she decided to take matters into her own hands and offered the Pi Kappa Alphas $70,000 for the residence.  They agreed, moved out, and Carrie promptly deeded the home to a much quieter set of neighbors, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  The Sisters transformed the abode into a convent where they lived until 1969, at which point they allowed the neighboring Mount St. Mary’s College to use the property as student housing.  In 1993, the Sisters returned to the house and set about an extensive $1 million restoration of the property.  They continue to live there to this day and often rent the place out for filming in order to offset the mansion’s expensive upkeep and to finance their retirement fund.  The Stimson House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 30, 1978 and became Los Angeles’ 212th Historic-Cultural Monument on May 16, 1979.

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In House II: The Second Story, the Stimson house was the haunted residence inherited by Jesse (aka Arye Gross) and his girlfriend, Kate (aka Lar Park-Lincoln).

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The Aztec-inspired interior appears to have been a set, though, as it does not match up with these interior photographs of the actual home.

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In the Season 2 episode of The Bionic Woman titled “Black Magic”, the Stimson mansion was used as the island home of wealthy inventor Cyrus Carstairs (aka Vincent Price).   Both the exterior . . .

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. . . and the interior of the property were featured in the episode.  And, according to the aforementioned Los Angeles Times article, Vincent Price became so enamored of the house’s echo-y acoustics during filming that he returned there later to tape a few productions of his own.

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In the 1989 horror movie After Midnight, the Stimson house appeared in the segment titled “The Old Dark House” as the spot where Joan (aka Nadine Van der Velde) and Kevin (aka Marc McClure) sought help after getting two flat tires while driving late at night.  Ironically enough, though, only the front porch and the interior of the Stimson house appeared in the flick.

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As you can see above, for the wide angle shots of the mansion’s exterior another location altogether was used.

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In the Season 1 episode of Pushing Daisies titled “The Fun in Funeral”, the Stimson House stood in for the Schatz Brothers Funeral Home in Couer d’Couers, where grave-robbing twins Lawrence and Louis Schatz (who were both played by Brad Grunberg) worked and also died.

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The home’s real life interior was also used in the episode.

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Two television mini-series,  1976’s Captains and the Kings, and 1977’s Testimony of Two Men, were also filmed at the mansion, but unfortunately I could not find copies of either of them to make screen captures for this post.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Stimson house, from House II, is located at 2421 South Figueroa Street in the West Adams District of Los Angeles.

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One comment

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  1. jeremy landis says:

    the the Stimson House was also the location of the haunted mansion in the original 13 Ghosts a 1960 horror film directed by William Castle and written by Robb White. an amazing film shot in Illusion-O it came with ghost glasses. the film stars Margaret Hamilton as Elaine Zacharides ( you might remember her best as the wicked witch of the west from a film called he wizard of oz.


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