When multimillionaire John Brockman decided to build a country estate in 1910, he purchased 40 acres of orchards and 100 acres of mountain land in the Glendale foothills. He patterned his Casa Verdugo -- better known as the Clock Tower House -- after a castle on the Rhine River in his native Germany.
According to a Times article from 1914, the palatial home had one of the most unusual garages in the world. It included a four-story clock tower, a billiards room, a balcony overlooking an artificial lake and his herd of deer, sleeping quarters for his chauffeur, and space for three cars. The clock came from a property, located in Los Angeles' West Adams neighborhood, that Brockman donated to what was then called the Orthopedic Hospital for Crippled Children.
Brockman's own story is as interesting as his property's. Orphaned at 8, he immigrated to the U.S. to live with an aunt. During the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army and befriended Abraham Lincoln, according to the Glendale Historical Assn.
After the war, Brockman, like many adventurous men of his generation, headed to the West. A pioneer, he settled first in New Mexico, then Arizona, where he owned gold mines, and finally relocated to Los Angeles in 1890. He lived in the Glendale house until his death in 1925.