1955 DOC BROWN’S MANSION EXTERIOR
Brown Mansion Location from “Back to the Future”
Located in Pasadena, California
See the end of this article for location and visiting information!
Editor’s Note: this text is from the old version of BTTF tour – we’re going to be revising these articles in the coming days. The photos and screenshots from these articles will all be down below for the time being, instead of thumbnails within the text. Thanks for your patience, and visit us again when everything’s tidied up!
After Marty has a creepy encounter with his Mother and her family in 1955, he foots it across town over to Doc Brown’s, only to discover that the house Doc had been living in in 1985 was merely the left over garage of his former mansion!(If you pay close attention in the film, you’ll notice that Doc Brown’s mansion burned down on Wednesday, August 1, 1962. Now that’s a bit of trivia for you!)
Although the Gamble house looks similar to the house in the movie “Zathura,” no part of the Gamble house was filmed in that movie! It did, however, provide some inspiration for the house in that film.
In real life, this beautiful mansion lies just off the route of the world-famous Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. In fact, this house is quite famous of it’s own accord. It’s called the Gamble House, and it’s extremely interesting location from a historical and architectural point of view. This building used to be the summer home of David B. Gamble (of the Procter & Gamble company) and was built by the famous architects Greene & Greene in 1909. A hallmark of California Craftsman architecture, the house is now owned by the city of pasadena and operated by the architecture department at USC. This site is easily accessible and you are allowed to walk freely on the grounds, although they do charge a fee for tours of the interior.
Due to the historic nature of the location, the Back to the Future film crew was not allowed inside the Gamble house itself, so the location was only used for exterior shots of the house, driveway, and garage. All of the interior shots, including the close up shots of Marty standing on the front porch, were filmed several miles away at another famous, but privately owned, house built by the Greene and Greene firm. That house has another page to itself located here.
As of the last revision of this article, The Gamble House is still open most days for guided tours, conducted by volunteers. However, these do cost money. It’s definitely worth supporting the ongoing restoration efforts at the Gamble House, but if you’re pressed for time this might not be the tour for you. If you do decide to come during business hours, you can visit the Gift shop inside the garage where you can find more information.
It’s also the closest thing you will get to being inside of Doc’s garage, since the movie version was filmed completely on a soundstage and no actual filming took place inside of the Gamble garage. If you don’t have the time, be assured that as of this writing the grounds are open as long as the sun is up, and you can even walk right up to the front porch. Two USC students live here full time to protect the property, so please try not to disturb them, but this is public property on the National Register of Historic Places and is completely free to visit, at least on the outside!
For MUCH more detailed information about the History of the Gamble house, as well as excellent directions and visitor information, visit their website at GambleHouse.org
ADDRESS: 4 WESTMORELAND PLACE, PASADENA, CA
COORDINATES: 34°9′5.62″N 118°9′38.88″W