A Very Expensive Move – The Martin Bekins Estate

An early view of the Bekins Estate (via Eastsider L.A.)

Word has recently come down the wire that the former estate of Martin Bekins, co-founder of the venerable Bekins Van & Storage Co., has hit the market for the first time since 1965. What is surprising to many is that this estate is not located in Beverly Hills, Pasadena or Bel-Air, but rather in the charming but not exactly tony district of Eagle Rock, an area not known as a home for captains of industry. But what is really raising real estate eyebrows is its asking price: just under $6,000,000. No home in Eagle Rock has ever even come close to garnering such a price and the wags have been out in force laying odds over what they think the estate will actually go for.

Chateau Emanuel Today (via Robert Kvassay)

If one were to pay such a price for an Eagle Rock house, surely this would be the one. Known in recent years as Chateau Emanuel, the impressive home, said to be Eagle Rock’s largest, is sited on a 3.5 acre hilltop at the end of Hill Drive and is surrounded by manicured gardens, waterfalls, fountains, an enormous swimming pool, three guest houses, koi pond, croquet court, wine tasting room, performance center, billiards and fitness room, and, yes, something no home should be with out – its own bistro and parking for 40+ cars. It is an unusual house, to say the least, and it will take a special buyer, a special buyer with $6,000,000 of course.

If you’d like more information, Eastsider L.A. has done a bang up job on the home’s full history and all the pictures you could ever want are on current owner Robert Kvassay’s Flickr photostream. Take a look. It’s worth it. And if that’s still not enough, here’s the Redfin listing. Like what you see? Better get out the checkbook and call a mover, Bekins perhaps?

Martin Bekins and his brother John founded the famous company back in 1891 in Sioux City, Iowa. In 1894, Martin brought Bekins to Los Angeles. In 1927, after turning the business over to his children, Bekins built his Eagle Rock estate and divided his time between the house @ 1550 (1554) Hill Drive and a summer house up in Belmont. It was while visiting up north that Bekins died, at age 71, in 1933.

Before Bekins moved to Eagle Rock, the long time family homestead was located down at 1341 South Figueroa Street in West Adams. In the late 1800’s Figueroa Street was one of, if not the, most fashionable street in Los Angeles lined with some of the city’s finest homes. Today, most of these homes are gone and the Bekins house is no exception, but here’s a photo taken of it showing the three Bekins girls in their smart matching outfits that appeared in Pictorial California in 1931. It is interesting to note the similarities in style between the old and new Bekins houses (at least to me).

Lastly, take a gander at another Bekins residence, the Bel-Air home of Floyd R. Bekins @ 301 Copa De Oro Road, designed by San Francisco architect F. Eugene Barton in 1934. Clearly, there is money in moving.

This entry was posted in Eagle Rock, Paradise For Sale or Lease and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A Very Expensive Move – The Martin Bekins Estate

  1. Jacqueline Vaught says:

    Wow! I like the house…but the price???

  2. Rick Johnson says:

    Wow, Steve. Nice blog. John and I used to live around the corner from this property and we always wondered who would build such a grand house in Eagle Rock and who lived in it. I always imagined it was a nutty, aging spinster with 100 cats. That was in the late 90’s through ’02 and the grounds and house did not appear very well cared for at that time.

    Thanks for solving the mystery for us.
    Oh! You have 3 readers now. Grin…

    Rick

  3. It’s comes down in price almost by HALF in less than a year. Ha!

  4. k petersen says:

    Do you have a picture of Floyd Bekins of 1930 or 1940 era. He had business dealings with my father and I would like to include a picture of him in the bio I am writing. klarapetersen5@gmail.com

  5. Catherine says:

    Curious…architect’s name was Floyd Barton? Wondering if it wasn’t Frederick Eugene Barton who designed his Bekins Storage Building in Glendale. I couldn’t find a Floyd Barton architect, and since Mr. Bekins name was Floyd, thought it might be just an easy mix-up🙂

    • Steve says:

      Ah Ha! You are correct. It was F. Eugene Barton. Good catch Catherine. Thanks! I’ll fix the post post haste. No dinner for the ladies of PL tonight.

      • Cynthia L. says:

        Great article Steve.
        Thank you. I too recently found out that the first owners of that lovely property had been the Bekins. I think all of us who had lived in Eagle Rock, admired the beautiful grounds and manor.
        As a very young child, by the time I was old enough to remember seeing the Bekins estate, would have been around 1964 or 1965, so most likely the house was on the market then or had been recently sold.
        I don’t recall hearing any of the owner’s names- past or present, back then. Of course that’s not something little kids really pay attention to. 🙂
        I hope for preservation sake, that the estate is kept up. It’s a shame when some of these wonderful historical properties are neglected and even worse, torn down to build newer ones.
        IMHO, the high quality craftsmanship, artistic detail, and knowledge that were applied “way back when,” are superior to today’s modern estates.

  6. Katherine b. Perrin says:

    Martin Bekins was my grandfather,and Floyd Bekins was my father. I don’t believe the Eagle Rock house was built by Martin,as I know they lived in Beverly Hills prior to that.I did live in the house for three months in 1932,when my parents were in Europe.

    • Cynthia L. says:

      Katherine P., hmmm…very interesting information, especially coming from the Bekins’ own relative. Very cool!
      I wonder who indeed did build that beautiful home? The grounds would be a child’s paradise. Lucky you! Like Disneyland before it was created…waterfalls, fountains, and koi ponds… oh my! And of course there’s so much more.

    • Jeanette Jurkovich says:

      To Katherine Perrin; I live in the Floyd Bekins home in Fresno, CA. The home was built in 1926. I’ve often wondered if F. Eugene Barton designed this home. The City has it identified as a Barton and Barton, but I cannot find a record of that company in CA. Any chance you lived there also?

  7. Cynthia L. says:

    Great article Steve.
    Thank you. I too recently found out that the first owners of that lovely property had been the Bekins. I think all of us who had lived in Eagle Rock, admired the beautiful grounds and manor.
    As a very young child, by the time I was old enough to remember seeing the Bekins estate, would have been around 1964 or 1965, so most likely the house was on the market then or had been recently sold.

    I don’t recall hearing any of the owner’s names- past or present, back then. Of course that’s not something little kids really pay attention to. 🙂
    I hope for preservation sake, that the estate is kept up. It’s a shame when some of these wonderful historical properties are neglected and even worse, torn down to build newer ones.
    IMHO, the high quality craftsmanship, artistic detail, and knowledge that were applied “way back when,” are superior to today’s modern estates.

    Katherine P., hmmm…very interesting information, especially coming from the Bekins’ own relative.
    Very cool! I wonder who indeed did build that beautiful home? The grounds would be a child’s paradise. Lucky you! Like Disneyland before it was created…waterfalls, fountains, koi pond, and much more.

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