The Virginia Robinson Gardens is a unique historic estate, a cultural jewel that transports the visitor back to the birthplace of Beverly Hills. Built in 1911, it was once the residence of retail giants Virginia and Harry Robinson (of the Robinson department stores) and now occupies an illustrious place in history as the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open by appointment to the public. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion. A favorite destination for both local and international visitors, the property attracts a varied audience, from those interested in the history of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills to people who appreciate beautiful gardens and traditional design. In addition, it is a dynamic location for photo shoots with dramatic settings such as the awe-inspiring Australian King Palm Forest, the bucolic Rose Garden and the tranquil Italian Terrace Garden.

The immediate beauty of the property is just one of the estate’s many fascinating attributes. The Robinson Gardens was once the site of lavish Hollywood parties. Mrs. Robinson was known as the first lady of Beverly Hills and her triumphs as a hostess are legendary: her diverse guests included royalty such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Hollywood stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire; her neighbors were Glenn Ford, Lillian Disney and Elvis Presley. She sipped champagne cocktails with Sophia Loren and challenged Charlie Chaplin to a spirited game of tennis – all with her signature elegance and class.

She was equally renowned for her philanthropy. Among the many benefits she hosted, the Hollywood Bowl Patronesses Benefit was a favorite. Each year, after the opening of the Hollywood Bowl season, the orchestra would repeat their performance on the estate’s Great Lawn, to the delight of her guests. Shortly before her death in 1977, Mrs. Robinson bequeathed her estate to Los Angeles County. The County, along with the not-for-profit organization Friends of Robinson Gardens, preserves the estate for future generations to enjoy.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Virginia Robinson Gardens is to preserve and promote this historically significant first estate of Beverly Hills for the education and enjoyment of the general public.

The Friends of Robinson Gardens volunteer their time and resources to maintain the house and grounds and keep Mrs. Robinson’s legacy alive. The Friends’ annual Benefit Patron Gala and “…into the Garden” Benefit Garden Tour are the highlights of Beverly Hills’ social calendar.

As the first luxury estate built in the world’s most famous residential neighborhood, the multi-faceted historic property provides an opportunity to experience the world of privilege in early Los Angeles.

 On the passing for Virginia Robinson, the estate was bequeathed to the County of Los Angeles and today is part of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The County, along with Friends of Robinson Gardens, a non-profit organization, maintains the estate in the elegant and tranquil manner that are in keeping with the living traditions of the early twentieth century.

 

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