McNally’s Egyptian Revival

This morning’s LA Times had a piece by Sam Watters via his Lost LA column on the neo-Egyptian den mapmaker magnate Andrew McNally had added to his Altadena mansion after being wowed by Egypt’s display in Chicago’s 1893 World Fair.

(I had to check if World Fairs still exist, and they do. Start saving your pennies now for the next World Fair, Expo 2012, to be held in Yeosu, South Korea, themed “The Living Ocean and Coast.”)

Photo from Archives of Pasadena Museum of History

As I sleepily scan through Mr. Watters’ short piece, that name snags me. McNally. Drumming fingers on desk…McNally, McNally…oh, that McNally!

Last August MB Maher and I stumbled onto this fabled property and had a brief outdoor tour. A brief and odd outdoor tour. (Post here.) At the time, McNally was just a name on a map to me. The Egyptian Revival parlor referenced in the article was contained in a 25X25 foot addition. Perhaps the wing containing the octogon-shaped fantasy room is off to the right in the photo below, not captured by MB Maher’s photo.* Mr. Watters says the Neo-Egyptian furnishings no longer survive, a shame to dismantle such single-minded whimsy. I wonder if this man famous for maps traveled anywhere outside the U.S. other than the passage to get here from Ireland to become a printing shop apprentice for $9 a week.


The porch.


Not an Egyptian Revival urn.


The now birdless aviary.


I wish I’d had one of Mr. McNally’s Road Atlases with me yesterday. The GPS was worthless.

(*Edited: From the Wikipedia entry: “In 1894 the one and a half story Smoking Room was added to the southeast corner of the house.” My emphasis.)

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4 Responses to McNally’s Egyptian Revival

  1. Kathy says:

    I’m occasionally drawn to those Victorian-esque room with layer upon layer of color, pattern etc. They seem more of a winter place though -I feel certain I’d be miserable in there in June. But December ? Comforting , like a hot toddy.

  2. Laguna Dirt says:

    way cool! you were a great detective!

  3. Les says:

    There is the coolest building in normally staid Richmond called the Egyptian building. Here is a link if you are interested.

  4. Denise says:

    Kathy, I also suppress an exotic and pattern-mad sensibility. Kinda fun when someone like McNally indulges it.
    LD, detective is a polite word!
    Les, thanks so much for that link. (And loved your entry on the GGW Feb photo contest, BTW)

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