san marino

San Marino California Real Estate Market

Historic San Marino

Welcome to the San Marino real estate market! From the Wilson, Shorb, and Patton families, who helped transform the region of one-time Spanish land grants into an agricultural paradise, to today’s modern community built around the arts, architecture and education. Let me take you on a tour of historic San Marino. From its breathtaking parks and renowned eateries to magnificent real estate. Here we go!

Historic San Marino

Outdoor view of The Centennial Clock was donated by the Rotary Club of San Marino to the San Marino community as a gift in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International in 2005 and dedicated on July 4, 2005.

The story of San Marino is rich in California’s legend and lore. The site of the City of San Marino originally consisted of large fruit ranches and vineyards, owned by early day pioneers whose names are still familiar to Southern Californians – like Benjamin D. Wilson, George S. Patton and James De Barth Shorb. In an earlier era, this area was part of the vast California mission system, providing rich yields of food, tallow and hides. As the missions grew, a need arose for a grist mill to process the abundant grains. Such a mill was constructed about 1816 and is today El Molino Viejo – the Old Mill, the oldest building in San Marino, as well as a veteran structure of Southern California. San Marino’s most famous resident was Benjamin D. Wilson, who, in 1854, established his Lake Vineyard Ranch home on what is today known as Euston Road. Here he lived until his death in 1878. He is known to have described the region as “one of the most beautiful places that the heart could desire.” Serving as Mayor of Los Angeles and as a State Senator for two successive terms, Wilson often entertained important Southland visitors at his ranch. When Wilson’s daughter Maria married James De Barth Shorb, he gave them the top knoll of his estate as a wedding gift. The Shorbs built a home where the Huntington mansion now stands and named their 600-acre ranch San Marino. Shorb named his ranch after his grandfather’s plantation in Maryland, which in turn had been named for the tiny Republic of San Marino. Henry E. Huntington visited the Shorb estate often and loved the location. He purchased the Shorb property in 1903, and in time the old ranch house gave way to the Huntington mansion. Today the City of San Marino is well known throughout the world for the extensive and priceless collection of art treasures in the famous Huntington Library and Art Gallery.

A painting of Henry Huntington which hangs in San Marino at The Huntington Library

One hundred years ago, Henry Huntington and several of his neighboring landowners decided to found the city of San Marino—a rural community covering four square miles of fertile agricultural land. The city took its name from Huntington’s property, known as the San Marino Ranch. But three families who farmed the land before Huntington’s arrival played key roles in the history of the region. To mark San Marino’s centennial year, The Huntington has mounted a special exhibition titled “Cultivating California: The Founding Families of the San Marino Ranch,” on view Feb. 16–May 13. The exhibition tells the story of the Wilson, Shorb, and Patton families, who helped transform a region of one-time Spanish land grants into an agricultural paradise. Rare family photographs, letters, legal documents, and artifacts will be among the objects displayed. Benjamin Davis Wilson (1811–1878) was the first elected mayor of Los Angeles and an early transplant to the tranquil San Gabriel Valley. He named his homestead Lake Vineyard, an appropriate title, as his land included both a lake—now Lacy Park—and commercial vineyards. When Wilson’s daughter Maria Jesus (“Sue”) married, Wilson gave the young couple the adjoining property to the east, the present-day site of The Huntington.

1940s era linen postcard of the Huntington Library and former private residence built by Elmer Gray for the Huntington's during the turn of the century.

Sue’s husband, James De Barth Shorb (1842–1896), soon started to manage his father-in-law’s commercial and agricultural properties. He grew Wilson’s small existing winery into the large San Gabriel Wine Company. Shorb named his ranch San Marino, after the Maryland farm on which he’d been raised. In a large Victorian house on the edge of a bluff (where the Huntington Art Gallery now stands), the Shorbs raised their own large family and hosted many distinguished guests, including Henry Huntington. But overextension on business ventures and a costly struggle with agricultural pests eventually led Shorb deeply into debt.

1880 View of Lake Vineyard, now Huntington Library
1880 View of Lake Vineyard, now Huntington Library

Following his death and a contentious court battle, the San Marino Ranch and other Shorb properties were ordered sold. The court put the properties under the receivership of lawyer George Smith Patton (1856– 1927), the husband of Sue’s youngest sister, Ruth. Patton had been elected district attorney of Los Angeles at age 30, but health problems forced him to give up his practice, so in 1888 he moved his family to Lake Vineyard, where he could oversee the Wilson properties and assist with Shorb’s businesses. Patton’s son, George Jr., was known around Lake Vineyard as “Georgie,” but he is best known today as the general who led U. S. troops in Europe during World War II. In 1903, Henry Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch, which Patton continued to manage until he hired William Hertrich as ranch superintendent in 1904. Huntington and Patton remained neighbors and close friends for more than 20 years and were two of the major influences behind the move to cityhood in 1913.

San Marino Parks And Eateries

Inside Julienne Market in San Marino
Outside Julienne Market in San Marino

Located in sunny Southern California, The Shops at Mission Village is a community of over 35 businesses ready to welcome you to this bespoke neighborhood village and to discover the beauty of San Marino and its local community. Visit The Shops at Mission Village, where you’ll discover a curated collection of stylish shops, essential services and dining like my favorite Julienne tucked beneath the canopy of San Marino’s tree lined Mission Street.

El Molino Viejo (“The Old Mill”), completed about 1816 as a grist mill for Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, is in San Marino. The original two-story structure measured 53 feet by 26 feet. It is the oldest commercial building in Southern California. The town is located on the former lands of the historic Rancho Huerta de Cuati. The Edwin Hubble House: From 1925 to 1953, this two-story stucco home was the residence of one of America’s greatest 20th-century astronomers, Edwin Hubble, who, among other accomplishments, discovered extragalactic nebulae and their separation from each other. It is a National Historic Landmark. The Michael White Adobe House is located on the campus of San Marino High School and houses the San Marino Historical Society archives.

Edwin Powell Hubble seated at the Newtonian focus of the 100-inch reflecting telescope, Mount Wilson Observatory.
Edwin Hubble Papers/Courtesy of Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.

In the middle of San Marino lies Lacy Park, a 30-acre expanse of grass and trees. Originally named Wilson Lake in 1875, the land was purchased by the city in 1925 and dedicated as a park. A picnic area is often the site of musical concerts, civic events and pancake breakfasts. The park includes six championship tennis courts and a pro shop, administered by the San Marino Tennis Foundation. At the west entrance of the park is the Rose Arbor, which is of special significance for the people of San Marino. It is sixty years old and has long been a source of beauty and tranquility to many residents. In recent years the care and upkeep of the Rose Arbor itself has been augmented by private donations from residents who have chosen to sponsor individual posts.

San Marino Parks And Eateries
San Marino Parks And Eateries

San Marino Real Estate Market

Incorporated on April 25, 1913, with a population under 15,000, the city is one of the wealthiest places in the nation in terms of household income. These exclusive neighborhoods currently have 26 homes listed on the market between $1,750,000-$21,500,000.

Outside a San Marino Estate with prominent architectural elements from Spanish Revival and Mediterranean
San Marino Real Estate Market
Outside a San Marino Estate with prominent architectural elements from Spanish Revival and Mediterranean.

Reach Out To A Local San Marino Real Estate Expert Today!

San Marino Estate near the Huntington Library with East Coast Colonial Revival Architectural significance (Image Courtesy of David Clark)
San Marino Real Estate Market
Outside a San Marino residence The beautiful Spanish home is tucked back between mature trees and features antique terracotta flower pot built into the wrought iron balcony railing. (Image courtesy of David Clark)

The city of San Marino is located in the San Rafael Hills, tucked into just 3.8 square miles, and divided into seven zones based on minimum lot size. The smallest lot size is around 4,500 square feet, with many averaging over 30,000 square feet. Because of this and other factors, most of the homes in San Marino, built between 1920 and 1950 offer unique architectural integrity and lot size relative to the surrounding Southern California neighborhoods.

San Marino Real Estate Market
San Marino Real Estate Market
San Marino Real Estate Market

Reach Out To A Local San Marino Real Estate Expert Today!

San Marino Real Estate Market
San Marino Real Estate Market
San Marino Real Estate Market

San Marino has also fostered a sense of historic preservation among its homeowners. With minor exceptions, the city’s strict design review and zoning laws have thus far prevented the development of large homes found elsewhere in Los Angeles. San Marino continues to be very restrictive of commercial operations in the city. It is one of the few cities that requires commercial vehicles to have permits to work within the city. The rationale is that commercial vehicle operators and service providers, such as gardeners, pool service providers and maintenance workers, are more likely to cause social disruption within the city, and so must be preauthorized for crime control and prosecutorial purposes. This regulation and others, including the bans on apartment buildings, townhouses and overnight parking, are some of the more obvious examples.

San Marino Real Estate Market

In the last 6 months 177 properties have sold in San Marino in a range from $1,473,000 to $11,780,000. The average days on the market (DOM) were 39 and the average price per sqft was $968.43. If you are interested in learning more about this great community or would like to call San Marino your home please reach out. If your interested in finding out what your home is worth, thinking about selling and wondering what might be next for you I am here. I am your neighborhood expert and look forward to the opportunity to help you with your real estate needs.

David Clark Real Estate Advisor with The Shelhamer Group

David Clark - 805.280.1425​

I’m David Clark, a Californian, real estate advisor REALTOR®, and writer for the Shelhamer Real Estate Group located in Northeast Los Angeles California, the fastest growing real estate market in Los Angeles County. Connect with me for further information about this article, and to add and optimize the value in your property. Look for me on Instagram: @sellingnortheastla

Shelhamer Group Logo Compressed

Mls Disclaimer:

Based on information from the / Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the /MLS) as of [date the AOR/MLS data was obtained]. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information


The Shelhamer Real Estate Group

361 N Avenue 57

Los Angeles, CA 90042-3403

Call: 310-913-9477

Stay Connected

First name(Required)
Last Name(Required)
Which Newsletter Insights Are You Most Interested In?(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Glenn Shelhamer is a licensed real estate broker DRE: 01950995 in the state of California and abides by equal housing opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. To reach The Shelhamer Real Estate Group’s office manage please call (310) 913-9477.

©2019 Finance of America Mortgage LLC is licensed nationwide | Equal Housing Opportunity | NMLS ID #1071 ( | 300 Welsh Road, Building 5, Horsham, PA 19044 | (800) 355-5626 | AZ Mortgage Banker License #0910184 | Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act | Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee #15499 | Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company | Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance | Licensed Mortgage Banker — NYS Banking Department | Rhode Island Licensed Lender | Massachusetts Lender/Broker License MC1071. For licensing information go to: Questions, comments, concerns? Send to

This is not a commitment to lend. Prices, guidelines and minimum requirements are subject to change without notice. Some products may not be available in all states. Subject to review of credit and/or collateral; not all applicants will qualify for financing. It is important to make an informed decision when selecting and using a loan product; make sure to compare loan types when making a financing decision. Any materials were not provided by HUD or FHA. It has not been approved by FHA or any Government Agency. A preapproval is not a loan approval, rate lock, guarantee or commitment to lend. An underwriter must review and approve a complete loan application after you are preapproved in order to obtain financing.

Copyright © 2022 Shelhamer Group. All rights reserved.