Historic Old Mill House From Pasadena’s Busch Gardens – DIRT


It’s not every day that the opportunity to live in a literal picture postcard setting presents itself, but this unusual Pasadena property offers just that. The Bavarian-style cottage known as “The Old Mill” is the last remnant of what was once one of Pasadena’s biggest tourist attractions, Busch Gardens.

Today, people associate the Busch Gardens name with amusement parks in Florida and Virginia, but the original Busch Gardens were a 30-acre botanical wonderland that grew on the estate of beer magnate Adolphus Busch and his wife, Lilly. The garden was open to the public between 1906 and 1937. In addition to thousands of flowers and trees, the garden featured 14 miles of scenic walkways that meandered past ponds and streams and whimsical structures and statues featuring characters and vignettes from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Built in 1910, the picturesque “Old Mill” with its working water wheel has become a landmark of the park, seen on countless postcards from all angles.

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Unfortunately, both Prohibition and the Great Depression took a severe toll on the Busch family’s fortunes, eventually rendering the garden’s significant maintenance and running costs unsustainable. On two occasions, the family tried to negotiate a deal with the city of Pasadena for such a major tourist attraction, but was turned down. And so they sold the gardens piece by piece to developers. According to records in the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Mill was converted to a single family home in 1946, with a two-story extension added to the southeast corner of the original building.

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The frame home, on the market for the first time in nearly half a century, contains two bedrooms and two bathrooms in its modest 912-square-foot main living area, which sits atop a two-story, 400-square-foot basement. Notable features include brick floors, sloping wood-beamed ceilings, diamond-paned leaded windows, and built-in bookcases and nooks. There is also a spacious brick patio and a detached garage with carport. But the property’s strongest selling point would have to be its wooded setting, which is criss-crossed by an extensive network of arroyo stone-lined pathways shaded by canopies of mature oaks, sycamores, and other trees.

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To buy the Old Mill you need almost two mills – the price is $1.9 million. Berkshire Hathaway’s Renee Rosen holds the listing.



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