The original owner of the house, and the person for which it was named, was John Sowden, an artist and photographer who used the house to host extravagant parties and theatrical displays with his wife, Ruth Sowden.
The Sowden House was also once the home of notorious Black Dahlia murder suspect, Dr. George Hodel. An esteemed Los Angeles physician, Dr. George Hodel was never actually named as a suspect at the time of the investigation. However, his son, a retired Los Angeles homicide detective, later claimed that his father had murdered Elizabeth Short in the basement of the Sowden House in January 1947.
The house transferred ownership for years, until 2001 when designer Xorin Balbes purchased the home for $1.2 million. It was Xorin Balbes who restored the house into the structure it is today.