The newly renovated and recently reopened Fenyes Mansion at the corner of Walnut St. and North Orange Grove Blvd. was not Eva Scott Fenyes’s (1849-1930) first Pasadena project.
Before this Beaux Arts mansion, Eva lived with her second husband Adalbert Fenyes (1863-1937) and her daughter Leonora Muse (1879-1972) in an Algerian-styled masterpiece she had built in 1897 soon after moving to Pasadena. It was situated on the northwest corner of Ellis Street and South Orange Grove, which was touted in the Los Angeles Times as, “…one of the most desirable corners…[where] the purchaser will improve the property almost immediately by the erection of a handsome residence in keeping with the other houses on the avenue.”
Young Leonora soon entered the whirlwind of Pasadena society involving, of course, Eva and Adalbert. Unfortunately, Eva’s health suffered a decline and by 1903, when Leonora was quietly married in a small ceremony in the family’s beautiful home, Eva had grown restless with the large house.
Hoping to simplify her life, Eva decided to sell her Moorish mansion with its more than thirty fabulously decorated rooms and their exotic furnishings.  She wrote with wistful ambivalence to Leonora who had moved to Colorado Springs as a new bride, “I am sorry to leave our pretty home, but am very glad to have the big house off my hands. Shall put up an artistic but compact and sensible house – not an expensive one but comfortable and practical.”
Eva had already purchased the old Channing property at Walnut and North Orange Grove in 1901, but it was not until January 1906 that she sketched her vision for her new, “sensible” mansion of fewer than twenty rooms. Still ill, yet highly motivated, Eva hired architect Robert Farquhar who sent preliminary plans to her Arrowhead Springs health retreat along with the missive, “We have taken the greatest pains to give a careful and complete specification so that no points shall be left in doubt, as far as we can foresee…”
The Fenyes Mansion was built that year, in 1906, under Eva’s artistic yet practical eye—as well as under her critical eye. She followed developments closely, scrutinizing the progress, assessing and questioning the work, and writing many letters to Farquhar demanding he attend to overlooked details and issues of a larger magnitude. Unfortunately, her 1897 Algerian mansion burned to the ground in 1915, but it is because of Eva Scott Fenyes’s fine instincts and thoughtful persistence that today we can enjoy at least one of her contributions to Pasadena’s architectural heritage, the Fenyes Mansion.
Public tours of the 1906 Beaux Arts Fenyes Mansion are offered Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 12:15 p.m.
 Southern California News, Los Angeles Times, 5 February 1897.
 On 2 February 1905, the Los Angeles Times reported that the 251 South Orange Grove house sold for a little less than $10,000.
 Eva Scott Fenyes to Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, 1903-1913, Acequia Madre House Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 Robert Farquhar to Eva Scott Fenyes, 26 March 1906, Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, Box 15 Folder 3, Research Library and Archives, Pasadena Museum of History.