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USC’s Historic Estate Listed for $24.5 Million

Photo courtesy Compass/Douglas Elliman
A seven-acre property located on Oak Grove Avenue in San Marino was put on the market this past week for the tidy sum of $24.5 million.

One of the priciest, most prestigious properties in Southern California hit the real estate market last Friday and San Marino’s Brent and Linda Chang were able to secure the co-listing.
Officially known as the Seeley Mudd Estate, the seven-acre property in San Marino — which features a 14,000-square-foot American Colonial structure — is possibly better known by its secondary purpose: Since 1979, it has served as the home to USC’s presidential families.
But it’s all yours for the asking price of $24.5 million, which will buy a slice of history considering the landscaped grounds were donated by Henry Huntington and Gen. George Patton. The estate was designed by renowned Pasadena architect Reginald Johnson and built in 1934.

Photo courtesy of Compass/Douglas Elliman
The Seeley Mudd Estate, which has served as the home to several USC presidents, is located on property that was donated by Henry Huntington and Gen. George Patton.

Additionally rare is the fact that the estate has never been for sale since its construction, according to Brent Chang. Among the amenities are 17th century wood paneling in the living room, original steel window and door hardware, and walnut hardwood flooring. The grounds include a mature forest of magnolias, sycamores, oaks and Chinese elms surrounding English rose gardens and numerous fountains. A sunken championship tennis court sits on one end of the property.
Unique accents include a carriage house garage that has its own gas station, car wash bay with floor drain, mechanic’s changing room, full garage pit for mechanical undercarriage work, an office and chauffeur’s apartment.
Brent Chang said that while the estate is famous, it has also retained a sense of mystery.
“Because it’s hidden behind the gates and the foliage, many people have never seen this property,” said Chang. “Unless you have been there as a major donor or trustee or a student, you probably haven’t experienced the place. This was my first time seeing it, as well. There is that kind of curiosity, and it is a great experience just to get out there and walk it.”
Chang also pointed out another unique element: privacy.
“I have frequently walked the grounds and have yet to find any place on the estate where I can see another house,” Chang said. “Usually you can see another house. The size and acreage is also amazing and you simply cannot find that in L.A. Having USC as a steward has also held it together and kept it in the condition that it’s in.”
While under USC ownership, the estate would serve as a destination for students unable to travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday and often served up to 400 guests under a large tent erected on one of the lawns.
The university hosted between eight and 10 holiday parties at the estate each December for university donors, faculty, trustees and special guests. Each year, the USC president’s family would install nine Christmas trees inside the residence, which were decorated to complete the festive atmosphere.
Hosting up to 2,500 guests each year for dinners, gala events and important meetings, the property also served as a stately setting for university and charity events, according to the listing.
Current USC President Carol Folt, who took over the position in 2019, elected to live in a Santa Monica home near Pacific Palisades that USC purchased for $8.6 million on March 2, 2020 — just days before the pandemic shuttered Southern California.
Brent and Linda Chang of Compass hold the listing with Ernie Carswell and Austin Alfieri of Douglas Elliman.

Now in his 25th year at The Tribune, Mitch Lehman is Editor and Sports Editor in addition to being the public address announcer for ten sports programs at San Marino High School. Mitch is one of only a handful in the community to receive the ‘Very Special Person Award’ from the San Marino PTA at the annual Founder’s Day ceremony, was acknowledged as a 'Terrific Titan' by the San Marino High School PTSA, was named an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of San Marino and received a National Honorary Merit Badge in Journalism from the Boy Scouts of America. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in the past three years, Mitch has won seven awards and is a thirteen-time finalist in the California News Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest. In 2015, the press box at Titan Stadium was re-named 'Lehman's Loft' in his honor. You can reach Mitch at mitchlehman@sanmarinotribune.com.

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