The historic Alfred Rosenheim Mansion, circa 1908, was the location for season 1 of American Horror Story (AHS). The house served as a backdrop to the horror/ghost series. The first season averaged 2.8 million viewers. Eight seasons later, the franchise does not seem to be slowing down—nor does the popularity of the Rosenheim Mansion.
AHS re-titled the first season to American Horror Story: Murder House (2011). This change aligned with future seasons. The “Murder House” was an empty mansion located in Los Angeles. With a history steeped in L.A. grandeur and Hollywood mystique, the home was a perfect choice for the production.
Alfred Rosenheim was an architect who relocated to L.A. He built the home located a t 1120 Westchester Place in 1908 for his family. The homes along this road were collectively known as Millionaire Row. They resided there for 10 years, selling to A.J. McQuatters, a mining mogul searching for a winter home.
By 1932, the Sisters of Social Service came into possession of the home. It was turned into a convent. The nuns purchased the adjacent property at 1130 Westchester Place, known as the Judson C. Rives Mansion in 1946. The nuns added a chapel in 1954.
The 10,440 square foot home boasts 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. It has 6 fireplaces and authentic Tiffany stained glass windows and lamps throughout. The enormous home fell into disarray, and by 2015 ownership changed to Greta von Steinbauer. Although the home has historic and landmark designation, it may be rented out; therefore, Ms. Steinbauer earned substantial rental income from production companies. This, apparently, was a selling feature. Shortly after the 2015 sale, the property was briefly listed on Airbnb for rentals. The property has since been removed.
Prior to the premiere of AHS, the home was on the market for $4.5 million. After the record-breaking first season, the price soared to $17 million. The price dropped significantly to $7.8 million. Actress Pier Angela Oakenfold and her partner, Cardiologist Dr. Ernst von Schwarz, purchased the home for $3.2 million. After closing and moving in, the couple suddenly realized that the home was part of the popular tourist tours highlighting various infamous locations and people associated with Hollywood. Ironically, the couple claimed that they “Googled” the property and never saw the AHS association.
Predictably, the filed a lawsuit on February 7, 2018, claiming the house is haunted by 2 ghosts (never reported or written about prior to purchasing) and the nuisance of trespassers. The Court heard summary judgment arguments last October. It is unknown whether the parties reached a settlement or the case continues. Since there has not been any publicity, it is fair to assume the case continues.
This is not the first time a house has become more famous than the production it appeared in. Consider the Brady Bunch House. Hopefully, this historic home will shed the haunted label and become the glamorous Rosenheim intended.