Once the home of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada, the 22-room Italian-Renaissance-style mansion is currently home to the Tournament of Roses.
After Ada’s death in 1958, the Wrigley family deeded the property to the city of Pasadena with the request that it become the base of operations for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association (PTORA).
The Wrigley family had been long time fans of the Rose Parade, enjoying the spectacle from their own front yard.
The Tournament House welcomes members of the public to come visit the mansion and get up close and personal with the architectural wonder.
From the moment guests arrive they are welcomed with a friendly smile by staff members such as Heritage Committee member and docent Greg Jones and given a red rose sticker that resembles a sewn-on patch.
The tour starts with a DVD on the history of the Rose Parade that details the event’s history and offers tourists a unique look at one of the world’s most celebrated parades.
When the Wrigley family moved out of the mansion they took most of the furniture with them. This left the PTORA with the task of re-furnishing the place. With the help of generous donors, the mansion now contains furniture from all over the world.
“There are two couches that look like they were donated … that you probably wouldn’t want to sit on,” docent and Heritage Committee member Jim Gruettner said.
The tour gives a one-of-a-kind look at many of the rooms in the mansion including the rose room, bar, library, telephone room, living room and dining room.
Betty Smith of the Heritage Committee led a tour describing the mansion and its history, pointing out the different styles of ceilings and fireplaces in each room.
Smith recalled past years of the parade and the queens who were crowned.
“(It was) more or less who you knew was queen,” Smith said.
On the tour, guests are allowed to sit on the furniture, take as many pictures as they wish and are even encouraged to play the 1,500 organ pipe originally owned by the Wrigley family themselves.
“They tried to keep everything as original as possible,” said Smith. “Lighting has been updated.”
The Tournament of Roses are currently accepting applications for PCC interns. The application process is administered through the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society at Pasadena City College.
Anyone is welcome to “just show up,” according to Heritage Committee member Bob Porlier. However, groups of ten or more should call in advance.
Tours are offered every Thursday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. through the last week of August. For information on booking your own tour, call (626) 449-4100.