I often visit Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge but never bother to see anything other than the flowers.  It was time to expand my exploration and visit the Boddy House (pronounced BOH-dee).  This was another of my spontaneous adventures.  I knew little about my destination other than that it had been built in 1937 for Elias Manchester Boddy.  That small amount of information was sufficient to encourage me to see it for myself.

The house is set on a hill above the gardens.  It’s a pleasant walk through the oak forest.

Road up the hill through the oak forest at Descanso Gardens

Road up the hill through the oak forest at Descanso Gardens

Within minutes the Boddy House appeared.  There are a few other things up top as well: An art gallery, a rooftop garden, and a stairway leading on up to a Mediterranean-terraced area called Hope’s Garden.

Stairway leading to Hope's Garden

Stairway leading to Hope’s Garden

Simple and Traditional

I wandered to all the little outdoor places before approaching the house.  The entrance is at the back, or what to me seems like the back.

Entrance to the Boddy House

Entrance to the Boddy House

If you’re expecting a old-fashioned home, you’ll be disappointed.  This house may have been built eighty years ago, but it was recently remodeled.  It is thoroughly modern inside.  These days, the house is an event venue and, as such, needs up to date features.

A docent was near the door and I chatted with her for a while before wandering off to explore on my own.  While the rooms weren’t historic, they were lovely.  Many gave a sense of the history of the place.

Light from big windows flooded into all the rooms.  Of course, the views of the gardens and the valley are stunning.  The color pallette was in light colors of tan and gold.

Formal dining room in gold at the Boddy House

Formal dining room in gold at the Boddy House

The living room and Boddy’s study are in deeper shades.  I liked his desk with its tiny Corona typewriter.

E. Manchester Boddy's desk and typewriter

E. Manchester Boddy’s desk and typewriter

Doesn’t that look like a pleasant place to sit and write?  I think so.  Of course, I could end up looking out the window and daydreaming.

But Who was Boddy?

My biggest takeaway from this trip wasn’t about the house, but about the man.  I had never heard of him.  Boddy was a publisher in Los Angeles in the heyday of the motion picture industry, but he didn’t start out that way.  He was the son of a farmer.  He served in World War I as a second Lieutenant.  His rise from rags to riches is a typical American self-made man story.

Display featuring a poster and photo of Manchester Boddy with Stewart and Tracy

Display featuring a poster and photo of Manchester Boddy with Stewart and Tracy

He joined the local Los Angeles newspaper as an editor in 1926; within months he was running the paper.  He wrote books and a story for the movies.  He even ran for the U.S. Senate in 1950 but lost to Richard Nixon.

If you get to Descanso Gardens, I hope you take the time to walk through the forest and visit the Boddy House.  It’s a pleasant sojourn featuring lovely rooms and the history of an interesting man.

To see more images from my visit, please click here.

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.