The Phillips MansionOct 19th, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
The Grim Cheaper always tells me that it is not about the destination, but the journey. He’s right. Getting lost can have its perks. While driving around looking for Spadra Cemetery (which I blogged about on Friday) a couple of weeks ago, we happened upon a seemingly abandoned mansion set back from the road behind a chain link fence. The site appeared to be beckoning to me, so we pulled over for a closer look.
As it turns out, the property is known as Phillip’s Mansion and it is one of Pomona’s oldest residences. The pad was originally constructed in 1875 by a wealthy rancher named Louis Phillips, who I wrote about in my Spadra Cemetery post.
According to the The Historical Society of Pomona Valley, the three-story, eight-room estate was built in the Second Empire or “Classic Haunted Mansion” style of architecture (I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but LOVE it) at a cost of $20,000. The exterior was fashioned out fired bricks that were hand-made on the premises, while the ornate interior featured gas lighting, sixteen-foot tall ceilings, a whopping six fireplaces (!!!!), and cherry and maple woodwork. Phillips, who in 1892 the Los Angeles Times named the “richest man in Los Angeles County” with an estimated net worth of around $3 million, lived there until his death in 1900. His wife continued to reside at the mansion until she passed away in 1918. Both are buried at Spadra Cemetery. Their tombstone was, sadly, upended by vandals a few years back, the sight of which only adds to the spookiness of the graveyard.
After it was sold, Phillips Mansion was used for a variety of purposes. At one point in time, the site was turned into apartments and then it later served as a dorm for Cal Poly Pomona foreign exchange students. Over the years, the property fell into disrepair and in the ‘60s was bought by an industrialist who planned to demolish it in order to build a factory. Thankfully, the Historical Society stepped in and purchased it in 1966, rescuing it from the wrecking ball. The organization immediately set about renovating the structure with the hopes of turning it into a museum. The project took years and the museum finally opened to the public in 1978. Sadly, it has not had much luck since that point. Phillips Mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, suffered severe damage in both the Upland earthquake of 1990 and the Sierra Madre earthquake of 1991. The Historical Society began to restore the wreckage in 2002 and was even hosting special theatrical productions titled "A Premature Burial" on the premises each Halloween, but then tragedy struck in July 2008 when the property was damaged yet again in the Chino Hills earthquake. The group is still currently working to repair the manse and return to its original glory.
While stalking it, I felt like I was standing in front of the Bates’ house from Psycho. The two properties look so much alike!
Supposedly, two movies, one starring Buster Keaton and the other starring Tom Mix, were shot at a barn located on the Phillips Mansion property in the 1930s. I am unsure of the names of the films, though, and, unfortunately, the barn is no longer standing.
Fellow stalker Darnell let me know that the mansion itself appeared in the 2005 horror movie Mortuary as the home where Liz (Alexandra Adi) lived.
While researching the mansion for this post, I was floored to discover that there is a dilapidated residence located directly behind it. I had not noticed the second property while I was there, which is unfortunate being that not only is it fabulously run-down, but it was also featured prominently in Mortuary. The dwelling is known as the Currier House and it was designed by architect Ferdinand Davis for local politician/philanthropist Alvin Tyler Currier in 1907. The home, which cost $12,000 to construct, was originally located about 15 miles west in the City of Industry. In 2004, after standing vacant for over a decade, the City of Industry gave the house to the Historical Society of Pomona Valley and paid to transport it to the grounds of the Phillips Mansion.
In Mortuary, the Currier House masked as the abandoned Fowler Brothers Mortuary.
I am unsure if the real life interior of the Currier House was used in the filming. Being that the interiors shown in the movie do not appear nearly as run down as the exterior of the home, I am guessing that a set was used for all inside filming. That is just a hunch, though.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Phillips Mansion is located at 2640 Pomona Boulevard in Pomona. The Currier House is located directly behind it.