The word Idlewild is proudly displayed on the front-facing gable of a distinctive residence rooted deeply in Monrovia’s history.
The Queen Anne Victorian dates to 1887, the same year the city was incorporated, and was commissioned by Civil War Union General William A. Pile. The former minister, Republican congressman and appointed governor of the New Mexico Territory served one year as the mayor of Monrovia.
Bay Area architects Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom created the opulent residence under the watchful eyes of Pile and his wife. Among the striking original details are a windowed cupola with a conical turret, the fish-scale shingle exterior and a piece of stained-glass above the wide front door containing more than 50 semi-precious gemstones.
Ornamental spindle-work helps define the 3,384 square feet of living space, which can be further separated by using the tall pocketing doors. Other features include an elevated veranda, coffered door frames, 12-foot ceilings, octagonal windows and detailed fireplace mantels. The mantel on the front room fireplace, for example, is made of more than a dozen shades of onyx.
A grand staircase in the home’s reception hall leads to the second story and a gallery with a Juliet balcony. Theodore Roosevelt reportedly once addressed constituents from the perch.
Updated spaces include the eat-in kitchen and laundry room. A wrap-around deck takes in foothill views. There are four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a wine cellar, an art studio and a six-car garage.
The attic, with 13-foot ceilings, could be converted to additional living space.