Unless you have had occasion to detour on Aspen Drive where it branches off Grand Avenue north of Foothill Boulevard, there’s a good chance that this is one Monrovian home you have never seen.
An 1890 Victorian with a wraparound veranda, it was built at a time when very few homes existed in the area, and thus it afforded the owners spectacular views of the San Gabriel Valley. Because the house was situated at an elevation of 1,200 feet, there would not have been obstructions back then to interrupt what would have been fantastic views for 180 degrees.
The home’s original owners and builders were J. Fred and Clara A. Harvey, and like everyone else in town they were transplants from somewhere else. However, Mrs. Harvey evidently lived in Monrovia at an earlier time as she once owned the Grand View Hotel and at the time was Mrs. Wood. When the couple arrived in late 1889, they wasted no time in securing property for their new residence.
They purchased a two and a half acre parcel of land and had plans to build a house opposite the homes of Mayor E. F. Spence and Judge John D. Bicknell, both of whom partnered with William Monroe and others to form the town site that was to become Monrovia. The contract for construction of the Harvey House was given to J. W. Rockwood to erect a nine room, two-story home.
J. Fred Harvey’s occupation is not recorded (early city directories, which didn’t come into existence until 1908, indicated the occupations of those listed), but he had interests in the orange business. In December 1890, he was recorded as having sold 60,000 seeding orange trees at a cost of $15 per thousand to a Mr. La Fetra. He also owned 57 acres of land near Downey, which he was planning to set with deciduous fruits and walnuts that same year.
The inside of the Harvey House must have been a visual feast, as it was noted, “Mrs. Harvey’s good taste shows itself in all of the excellent appointments of her home which is indeed a thing of beauty and a joy.” The Harveys did not remain in the house very long, however, and sold it in 1892 to George E. Rogers, who in turn sold the house two years later to Mr. and Mrs. Mather H. Holmes.
The current owners are probably the eighth family to live in this vintage home, having bought the home in 1997.
With three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms and 2,700 square feet, the house is an imposing structure from the street. Readily apparent to any visitor are the five gables, which add visual interest to its appearance.
The current owners the home in 2006, and it is landmark No. 106. One condition of the landmark designation was to remove the brick steps in front, which has been done. In addition, the garage was remodeled on the exterior to match the design of the house.
Inside, the owners have replaced lighting and bathroom fixtures to make them period appropriate. The house has been on the MOHPG three times, in 1983, 1992, and 1999.
A special thanks to owners Barry and Diane Carlile and Monrovia City Historian Steve Baker for their assistance in providing information on the history of the home.
 The Rural Californian, November 1891, page 667