Architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey originally designed the Mediterranean Revival style mansion for Chicago business machine manufacturer Arthur Herbert Woodward in 1907. The house was the first fireproof home in Altadena, built entirely of reinforced concrete as prescribed by Woodward's wife, Edith Norton Woodward. Edith Woodward was a survivor of the Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903.
The Zane Greys moved to Southern California in 1918. In 1920, spurred by the memory of a visit to Altadena during their honeymoon, they bought the Woodward home. After purchasing the property, Grey built an addition on the roof for a studio, library and museum. In 1928, an east wing was added to the house. After the Greys' death, their sons owned the property. The house was sold by their son, Romer, in 1970.