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About the Green Gables Inn

Green Gables Inn, the first Four Sisters Inn, was built in 1888 by Englishman William Lacy, an engineer and amateur architect who moved with his family to Los Angeles. The new house, known locally as the “red house,” was probably intended as a vacation home, but the Lacys never occupied it. The first resident was the Lacys’ friend, Emma Murdoch.

Born in 1848 on a Virginia plantation, Emma ran off to Nevada during the 1870s silver boom with her fortune-seeking husband, after the Civil War brought an end to her Southern family’s livelihood. Eventually the couple settled in Los Angeles, where they met the Lacys. Emma’s husband soon left in search of treasures elsewhere, leaving her alone with her infant daughter, Penelope. The Lacys offered Emma their newly constructed Pacific Grove house as a residence, and in 1889, Emma and Penelope moved in, along with their housekeeper and mastiff dog, King.

The multi-gabled seaside house was framed entirely of redwood, and boasted solid maple floors, brass and copper door and window fixtures, exposed dark wood interior trim, and a massive wooden mantelpiece (later replaced by plaster). The overall appearance of the house was much darker and busier than it appears today, although the present windows, fixtures and woodwork are original. The upstairs room dubbed the “Chapel Room” reflects Lacy’s English architectural heritage of exposed ceiling beams and myriad angles, slopes and nooks.

As a little girl, Penelope and King explored every inch of Pacific Grove on foot. One of her favorite spots was the nearby Chinese fishing village (now the site of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station). During her childhood, Penelope and her mother were often visited by Mr. Lacy, who sailed from Los Angeles to Monterey on his yacht, the Penelope, bringing gifts and toys. During one of his visits, Mr. Lacy’s boat capsized near Monterey Bay, and he died soon after of pneumonia. The house was sold in 1899, and Emma and Penelope moved back to Los Angeles.

The new owner was Judge Wilbur of Pasadena, who used it as a summer home, and called the house Ivy Terrace Hall. Over the ensuing years, the house changed owners (and paint) several times. In 1954, it was purchased by Miss Ethel Wright of Saratoga, Calif., who rented out rooms in the house for the first time, and painted it dark green with white trim.

In 1958, John and Nora Flatly purchased the building and renovated it first for use as a student rooming house, and eventually as an inn, christening it Green Gables. 

When Roger and Sally Post purchased the inn in 1971, they once again turned it into a family home, where they raised their four daughters. But the entrepreneurial girls (including current Four Sisters Inn's president, Shelley Post) decided to reshuffle their living quarters in the summer months, renting out their rooms to enthusiastic travelers. In 1983, the Post family decided to make the enterprise official, and Green Gables Inn was opened year-round to guests.