Wrigley Mansion

This sprawling structure was built in 1929 as an anniversary present from William Wrigley Jr. to his wife Ada as a winter residence. He called this place, which has 24 rooms, 12 bathrooms, and 16,000 square feet, a cottage. My idea of a cottage and his are vastly different. The mansion sits at the top of a huge mound and has picturesque views of downtown Phoenix as well as Camelback Mountain. The inside of the mansion is just a glorious as the outside. All the tiles were shipped to Phoenix from William’s factory in Catalina. It was transported first by ship, then train, and finally by mules to their final destination. Not one tile was broken in the move.

Who is William Wrigley Jr. and how did he make his fortune? He was born on September 30, 1861 in Philadelphia. In 1891, with only $32 dollars in his pocket, he moved to Chicago. He wanted to start his own business selling Wrigley’s Scouring Soap. This shrewd business man offered free baking powder when they bought his soap. People started showing more interest in the baking powder so he sold that product and offered chewing gun as free incentive.  The chewing gum was admired by many, so he focused his business attentions on the chewing gum. In that era, gum had no flavor and was chewed by folks to make their teeth white. They loved the sweeter chewing gum. His first flavor was Juicy Fruit and then came Spearmint.  

William and Ada loved to vacation in Santa Catalina Island in California. After his wife said she loved it there, he bought controlling interest in the island. Apparently, whatever Ada wanted, he got for her. Lucky gal. He made enhancements on the island, refining utilities, adding buildings, and improving the overall look. In 1929, he opened the Catalina Clay Products Tile and Pottery Plant where they made a vast array of glazed tiles, dinnerware and other items to decorate your house with. The company closed in the 1930s. To this day it is impossible to find Catalina tile and it is very expensive.  In 1916, he bought a portion of the Chicago Cubs and the ballpark was named after him, Wrigley Field.

Wrigley Mansion was the runt of the five homes he owned. Inside the front door is a grand staircase with low-stepping stairs. He had them built that way for Ada who stood less than five foot. Lots of the chairs in the house are low just to accommodate her. If you look up, you will see an impressive chandelier with a hand painted dome on top. Also on the first floor is a luxurious living room with a player piano in the corner. The piano was deeded to the house so it can never be moved. The ceiling in that room was also hand painted and just gorgeous.

Up the staircase are the bedrooms. William and Ida had their own bedrooms and bathrooms. Their rooms connected through a narrow hall which was where the closets were located. All the rooms had fireplaces, including their children’s rooms. They had two kids, Dorothy and Phillip.

On January 26, 1932, William died at the age of 70. He passed away in Ida’s room and shortly after the mansion was completed. Ida moved out of her room and into his after his passing. His money and fortune was left to his children. Philip ran the company until his demise in 1977. In July of 1992, Geordie Hormel purchased the mansion and made changes in each room to provide a place for meetings, conventions and other occasions. The mansion was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Today, you can tour the mansion and see all its magnificent. Some say that the mansion is haunted, perhaps by Wrigley himself.  https://wrigleymansion.com/


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