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Friday, July 6, 2018

Photo Essay: A Mansion Built By A Chewing Gum Fortune But Saved By Lunch Meat

I knew I wouldn't have a lot of free time in Phoenix, but I did arrive a day early and went home a day late from the wedding that brought me there so I could check some key places off my list (and, of course, add them to my map).



One of the more important locales for me to hit was the Wrigley Mansion in Camelback East.



After all, I'd already toured the Wrigley Mansion in Pasadena and explored some Wrigley history on Catalina Island. And I'm a completionist.



Besides, I was particularly drawn to the mansion when I realized it was operating not as a house museum but as a private club (by necessity, since it's zoned for residential and not commercial restaurant/bar/dining).



And I'm a sucker for exclusivity.



There's plenty of history there on the hill, though—including the chewing gum wrapper wallpapered telephone room...



...with historic switchboard...



...and telephone directory.



There are the books that still line the shelves of the former library (now used as the club's wine bar)...



...the original wall-mounted lighting fixtures...



...and chandeliers...



...hanging from painted ceilings...



...that were never quite finished.



Then, of course, in the salon...



...there's the player piano...



...an unusually automated model of a Steinway....



...featuring the Duo-Art mechanism by the Aeolian Company...



...that still allows you to listen to "Rhapsody in Blue" as played by Gershwin himself (as you also can at the Nethercutt Collection).



But the real highlight of the mansion, though, is the Catalina tile that lines the floors...



...windowsills...



...staircases...



...and many fireplaces of the various bedrooms, guest rooms...



...and common areas of the mansion, the smallest one to be built at the behest of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley.



It was a gift from William to his wife Ada for their anniversary...



...though Ada generally preferred Catalina Island and their abode there (which now functions as a hotel, Mt. Ada).



But the location—way up on a hill—proved to be more than convenient for Mr. Wrigley...



...who could use the high point to look out over the Biltmore Hotel down below, which he'd invested a fair amount of money into. (Stay tuned for my photo essay on the Biltmore, a project that brought together the Wrigleys and Frank Lloyd Wright.)



And thus, the Wrigleys used it mostly for entertaining.



Now, the Wrigley Mansion provides plenty of hospitality to its members, its private porch now overlooking Geordie's restaurant (named after George Hormel, an heir to the Hormel Foods and Spam fortune and owner of the mansion from 1992 until his death in 2006).



Or, if you're a looky-loo like me, you can become a member-for-a-day to take the tour...



...and bathe in the tile...



...that was designed and fired right on the very same island that William Wrigley, Jr. bought, built up, and ran and his wife Ada so dearly loved.



And now, those once-private spaces are made accessible to the public as much as possible by living members of the Hormel family, descendants of those midwestern industrialists (from Austin, Minnesota) that brought Spam to the masses.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The House of Chewing Gum and Roses
Photo Essay: Come Gather Round All Ye Islanders at the Catalina Casino