The Strange Life of Glendale's First Family - Atlas Obscura

Glendale, California

The Strange Life of Glendale's First Family

Dive into the history of this eccentric Edwardian estate.

Step inside the dream world of Glendale's founder, whose fantastical East Indian-style castle, bizarre cemetery, and lush grounds harken back to an era of opulence and eccentricity in Southern California.

When millionaire Leslie Brand arrived in Southern California in 1894,  he immediately went to work building his kingdom. He bought up all the land and property of Glendale, which was at the time a 300 person orange grove community at the base of the Verdugo mountains. Within ten years, Brand had turned the small town into one of the most valuable properties in all of Southern California.  

In 1904, Brand opened the distinctive gates of his new estate, Miradero, to the SoCal elite. Parties and social engagements were the norm on the beautiful 800 acres of land. But life was far from perfect for the man they called the king of Glendale. 

Join writer and field agent Hadley Meares as we discover the history and dark past of Leslie Brand by walking the grounds of Brand Park and his estate, Miradero.    


  • This is an OUTDOOR walking tour will last an around an hour and a half. We will not be touring the interior of the buildings. Please wear comfortable shoes.
  • Be sure to bring water and protection from the sun.
  • Exact meet-up location will be sent in ticket confirmation.
  • Brand Library (the former mansion) is open 10-5 on Saturday, so you will be able to visit on your own after the tour (please be respectful, it is a working public library).


Contact Hadley Meares at

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