Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)


Robinson, Harry Winchester and Virginia Dryden, House, Beverly Hills, CA

ID: 5098
Construction Date: End Date: 1911
Building History: Nathaniel Dryden designed this house for his daughter, Virginia Dryden Robinson (1877-1977), and son-in-law, Harry Winchester Robinson (1878-1932), whose family owned the Robinson's Department Store in Los Angeles, CA; Harry Robinson was the son of the store's founder, Joseph Winchester Robinson (1846-1891). The Robinson Gardens were well known in the mid-20th century, and were laid out by landscape architect Charles Gibbs Adams (1884-1953); the reinforced concrete structure was reported to have cost $25,000 in 1911 and to have contained 12 rooms; Dryden, who had a background as a building contractor, supervised the construction. Virginia lived in the house until the mid-1970s. Just before she passed away in 1977, she willed her six-and-one-half-acre estate to Los Angeles County. She was a prominent philanthropist in Los Angeles, and the gift of the property was in line with her generous nature. Unfortunately, as the Friends of the Robinson Gardens web site acknowledged, "...She left her legendary home and gardens in serious disrepair. A leaky roof and a dangerous electrical system threatened the very survival of this cultural landmark." Fundraising had to occur to provide an endowment to operate the gardens for the public. Los Angeles County Supervisor, Edmund G Edelman, consulted Joan Selwyn about the possibility of organizing a charitable foundation to help fund and manage the gardens in perpetuity. Selwyn was instrumental in establishing the Friends of Robinson Garden in 1982. (See "About Virginia Robinson Gardens," <> Accessed 08/27/2014.)
Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses
Locations: Structure:
1008 Elden Way
Beverly Hills, CA
map latlong or map of street number

Exterior view of the Robinson House, Beverly Hills, 1911; from Los Angeles County

Portrait of Harry Winchester Robinson, c. 1910; from Find A

Portrait of Virginia Dryden Robinson, c. 1897; from Find A