255 N. Mayflower Avenue
Block No: 1
Lot No: 5
Construction Year: 1887
Architectural Style: Victorian
Architect: Joseph Cather & Samuel Newsom
Style Altered? No
Location Changed? No
Owner(s): General W. A. Pile
This beautiful home, known as "Idlewyld," is Monrovia Historical Landmark No. 4.
Over the years, The previous owners, Roger and Jeanie Martinsen, and the present owners have opened this house to the public for the annual Monrovia Old House Preservation Group's Mothers Day Old Home Tour. MOHPG is sincerely greatfull for their generosity.
The following is a description of Idlewild, taken from a newspaper account of the day. At the end of the article is a picture showing how Idlewild looks today.
Securing the services of J.C. Newsom, of Los Angeles, as architect, the plans were prepared and the residence commenced. A very substantial foundation was built of cut granite, coarse ashler, 18 inches thick. The building is two stories high and 42 by 67 feet in size. The ceiling of the first floor is 12.2 feet, and the second 11 feet. Upon entering the well-kept grounds a person is at once struck with the architecture of the building, which reflects credit upon the architect.
The building was not let by contract, but was constructed under the direct supervision of General Pile, ably assisted by his wife. It is very tastefully painted. The body color of the first story is a light chocolate brown, trimmed with a dark color of the same. The upper story is in cream trimming, yellowish brown, lined with English vermilion red. All colors blend very nicely. There are five verandas, from one of which a sunbath can be obtained at any time of the day.
The building faces the east. Upon entering the front door you are ushered into a hallway, or reception room, 13 by 20 feet, leading upward from which is the stairway. This room is wainscoted four feet high with curly redwood, finished up in the best possible manner, and presenting a beautiful appearance. No paint is used, but the woodwork finished up in the natural state, and it produces a beautiful effect. The paper on the walls is a plain tint of gray ingrain, velour velvet frieze, with iridescent stiling and velour border. The hall window looking on the front porch is very artistic.
It was selected by the General and manufactured for him by Rafael & Slessinger, of Los Angles. The figures are geometric and the whole window contains over one thousand pieces of glass, the colors of which are very rich. It also contains fifty cut jewels. The General has for years had a kind of hobby in this direction, and when in England he admired nothing more than the windows of the cathedrals and other buildings. The window is indeed something to be proud of. It should produce a magnificent effect at night, when the gas is lighted.
On the east side of the building are situated the parlors and dining room. The front and back parlors are divided by a spindle work arch, a splendid piece of workmanship. There are two octagon windows; looking east and south, the glass in which are heavy French plate. The rooms are 25 by 35 feet. There is a 7-foot veranda on the south side, overlooking the orange orchard and commanding a good view of the valley. The walls of the parlors are light buff ingrain paper, with picture moulding and a deep frieze, ceiling stile, border and corner pieces, gilt and iridescent frescoed centerpieces.
The front parlor mantle is made of California onyx and made in San Francisco. It is an exceptionally fine piece of workmanship, and is considered by the General to be the finest thing in the house. There are at least twelve different shades of color in the mantle, and it is certainly magnificent. It is to be ornamented by a center bronze piece statue of Giotto. The back parlor mantle is of solid mahogany, with a French plate glass mirror. Sliding doors divide the reception room from the parlors, and if so desired the three can be converted into one room. The dining room is 15 by 25 feet, wainscoted five fee