History of the Tournament House
Wrigley Mansion, the Orange Grove Boulevard estate, serves as the official headquarters of the Tournament of Roses Association, its staff and the 935 volunteers who work year-round to organize the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. The elegant Italian Renaissance-style mansion was presented to the city of Pasadena in 1958 by the William Wrigley family with the understanding that it would become the permanent headquarters for the Tournament of Roses.
Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. purchased the home in 1914, after eight years of construction, for $170,000. A year later, he paid $25,000 for the adjoining property, clearing the way for what is now known as the Wrigley Gardens. In its time, the Wrigley’s winter residence was considered a more modest home on “Millionaire’s Row.” The three story mansion had 22 rooms totaling 18,500 square feet space, with the first floor dedicated to entertaining and the second floor used for living. Of the Wrigley’s six homes across the country, the Pasadena getaway was Mrs. Ada Wrigley’s favorite. She delighted in watching the parade from her own front yard.
Surrounding Tournament House are the Wrigley Gardens, which feature a 4.5-acre floral display of more than 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias and annuals. The gardens feature the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award-winning Tournament of Roses rose developed especially for the Tournament of Roses Centennial.
In 1999, the Tournament of Roses Executive Committee decided, some 41 years after the home was given to the city of Pasadena, that it was time for Tournament House to be renovated and the interior freshened. As you might imagine, the number of events that are held at the house and the number of people who come annually to enjoy the house does take a toll. Due to Tournament events the work could only be done beginning in late January and it had to be finished by late August. The project took two years to complete.
Tournament House and its surroundings provide a majestic backdrop for many Tournament activities, including the highly anticipated announcements of the Grand Marshal and Royal Court. The many treasures throughout the house recall past tournaments and highlight a rich history of grace and style.
Tours will be offered, at no cost, each Thursday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. from February through end of August. Reservations are not required except for groups of 10 or more people. Groups of 10 or more may call (626) 449-4100 for tour reservations.