Old money wasn’t only acquired through singular achievement. The old guard knew that it was a more powerful strategy for important families to marry into each other, creating an even broader financial base. Children were groomed for this eventuality and exposed only to potential mates through carefully orchestrated social events such as at coming-out parties for debutantes. Wealthy society groups developed in many areas of the country as it was being developed and industrialized. Such was the case with midwesterner John Smith Cravens who attended Yale and married tobacco heiress Mildred Myers of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company family. After college and their marriage, Cravens went to work for his father-in-law. Upon the death of her father, Mildred inherited $25 million. The Cravens started vacationing in Pasadena, California and in time, John founded the Edison Electric Company there. He served as its president until 1901 when he resigned to found the Southwestern National Bank of Los Angeles. In 1902, the Cravenses purchased 14 acres on Orange Grove Boulevard and engaged architect Lewis Parson Hobart to design their home.
Inspired by the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte near Paris, the Cravens’ home totals almost 20,000 square feet of living space within three stories and 50 rooms. By 1971, the city of Pasadena claimed it as a cultural heritage landmark. It has been a favorite filming location for television series and feature films and was featured as the 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design.
Grand lady of the 1920s, the Craven mansion, newly under contract, is priced at $10.5 million.
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