In the heart of Wilmington sits a little-known treasure, The Banning Museum. Phineas Banning—entrepreneur, the founder of the city of Wilmington, and “the Father of the Port of Los Angeles”—built the 23-room residence in 1864. Subsequent generations lived in it until 1925; in 1927 the residence, stagecoach barn, and the surrounding 20 acres of parkland were acquired by the City of Los Angeles.
The residence fell into disrepair over the decades, but an intrepid group, the Friends of Banning Park (now called the Friends of the Banning Museum) spearheaded by Phineas’s great-granddaughter, Nancy Banning Call, restored the mansion to its original Victorian beauty.
The Banning Museum engages visitors in a living history experience, showing how the family lived, worked, and entertained. Through its educational programs, it gives third, fourth and ﬁfth-graders opportunities to experience life in the 19th century, enriching their curriculum.
History of the Banning Residence
The Banning Residence was built in 1864. This home’s construction symbolized Phineas Banning’s confidence in the future of his community.
The 23-room residence remains the finest example of domestic Greek Revival architecture in Southern California. The house interiors have been carefully restored to their Victorian beauty, and 18 rooms are open to the public.
Rooms reflect decorative elements added during 60 years of family residence and demonstrate the eclectic nature of a home lived in by several generations.
The house and surrounding 20 acres of parkland were acquired by the City of Los Angeles in 1927. The Residence is a City, State, and National Historic Landmark. The Department of Recreation and Parks manages the Residence, Stagecoach, Barn, and Gardens in cooperation with Friends of Banning Museum, a private non-profit corporation. Friends of Banning Museum develops the historical aspects of the Museum and raises funds for continuing restoration and educational programs at the Museum.
“Construction History of the Banning Museum” video