Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Pittock Mansion of Portland, Oregon



With Nancy J. Farrier

Henry Pittock
Georgiana Pittock
In 1853, Henry Lew Pittock traveled from Pennsylvania to Oregon. He was 19, “barefoot and penniless,” and found a job working for the Weekly Oregonian
newspaper. In 1860, he married 15-year-old, Georgiana Burton of Missouri, who had come west with her family six years before. The couple began a life long commitment to their family and community. They were married 58 years and had six children and eighteen grandchildren. They community service efforts were well known.

The same year Henry and Georgiana married, Henry became the owner of the Weekly Oregonian. He changed the newspaper from a weekly to a daily print. He built an empire through real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, sheep ranching, silver mining and the pulp and paper industry.

Georgiana had many interests and concerns of her own. She did much to improve the lives of women and children in the Portland community. She was instrumental in the founding of the Ladies Relief Society in 1867. The LRS provided a Children’s Home that reached out to needy children with food, care and shelter.

View of Portland from Mansion
Both Georgiana and Henry loved the outdoors. Georgiana loved flowers and gardening. Henry loved horses and rode in the Portland Rose Festival Parade. He also loved hiking and was a member of the first party to climb to the top of Mt. Hood.

In 1909, Henry and Georgiana began planning their mansion,
Pittock Mansion
which would be built on a hill overlooking the Willamette River. The mansion was completed in 1914. The house had many design influences: Turkish, English and French. Because of their love for their community, the Pittocks hired Oregon craftsmen and artisans to work on their house. They also used Northwest materials as much as possible.

Pittock Mansion Back
Gate House
The mansion was situated on 46 acres, and nearly 1,000 feet above downtown Portland. The estate also had a three-car garage, a greenhouse, and an Italianate gate lodge, which provided a residence for the servants. The house is 16,000 square feet and
has 46 rooms. When the Pittocks moved in, nine family members moved in with them, so three families were living there at the same time.
Clock in Mansion

Marble Staircase
The Pittock’s only resided in their mansion for four years. Georgiana died in 1918 and Henry died in 1919. The family maintained the residence until their grandson decided to sell the property in 1958. The home fell into disrepair and the threat of demolition stirred some concerned citizens.

The people of Portland fought to raise the money to restore and keep the landmark. Portland women held bake sales, teas and luncheons to raise money. When the women went to the city officials to state that they were still short of the needed funds, the city of Portland decided to purchase the mansion and grounds anyway. 

Today, the Pittock Mansion is a great place to tour. Many of the innovations in the house are fascinating to see. I loved the upstairs bathroom with the extra faucet for shampoo. There was also an intercom to call from the various rooms of the house, so the servants could be contacted.



Original Table
Some of the furnishings in the mansion are pieces that were there when the Pittocks lived there. In the renovations, they have tried to be true to the original look. All of those period pieces are labeled. 
Intricate Ceiling Pattern
Children's Puppet Theatre



The grounds have several trails through the wooded areas above Portland. The flowers are beautiful and meticulously maintained. The artwork and furnishings are incredible as are all the historical tidbits found around the home. If you are ever in Portland, Oregon, take the time to visit the Pittock Mansion. 








For the drawing I will be giving away a copy of The Immigrant Brides or your choice of one of my books. To enter, please leave a comment. I would love to know if you have ever visited the Pittock Mansion. If not, what historic mansion have you visited? What fascinates you most about these older houses?
Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and one grandson. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.


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29 comments:

  1. I'm sure I must have seen a mansion or two in my time but can't think of one that qualifies at the moment. I have toured the White House, seen Jefferson's home in Virginia and the Roosevelt's Campobello. Those may not qualify as mansions, but it's still fascinating to walk where famous people have lived.

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    1. Connie, I would love to see the White House and some of the famous homes back east. I'm sure theyr're incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I haven't toured any mansions, but I have toured some old houses that were turned into museums. There are two where I live that I have been through. I love going through them.

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    1. Susan, I love old houses. Sometimes the woodwork is incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. No I haven't been in any mansions but I have been in a historical house turned into a bread & breakfast that was beautiful.The beautiful dark woodwork & antiques. The large staircase in the entry, beautiful! I am so glad they saved the Pittock Mansion so much historical homes have disappeared. Enjoyed seeing the pictures & reading the story...

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    1. Love those antiques. The bed and breakfast sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Deanna.

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  4. Thank you for this interesting post. I have not visited The Pittock Mansion but I sure want to if I am ever in the area. I have visited many historical Presidential homes, The Winchester House, The Biltmore...too many to mention.....and each one was just fascinating!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. I've heard the Winchester House is interesting. Some day I'll get there. Thanks, Melanie.

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  5. I love going through old houses. We're fortunate to live close to the Biltmore in Asheville NC and it's so fun to visit.

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    1. I've heard so much about the Biltmore, Edie. I'd love to visit sometime. Thanks.

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  6. I've been to the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee - my mom used to be a tour guide there. I've also been to the Winchester House. I would love to visit the building and grounds of the Pittock Mansion. Thanks for the interesting post!

    lindajhutchins@gmail.com

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    1. Guided tours are so interesting, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Hi Nancy, Portland is my home town, and I lived there for the first 23 years . . . but I never visited the Pittock Mansion. Thanks for sharing more about the history of this lovely home. I will be sure to visit the next time I am in Portland.

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    1. Carrie, I love Portland. I hope you get to visit the Pittock Mansion next time you're there.

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  8. I loved this post ! What a beautiful home and the history of the people who lived there. I am so glad they preserved it .
    I have not been there but I have been To The Stan Hewett Hall in Akron, Ohio and The Reeves Home in Dover Ohio and many times To The McCook House in Carrollton, Ohio (not a mansion but very well preserved and wonderful history of The Fighting McCooks from Civil War. I love old homes weather they are mansions or not. There is a special grace about them that speaks to my heart. I love the history of the homes but the family history when you know it just makes them that much more special. It gives us something to pass on to the next generations.
    Thank you

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. You are right that old homes do have a special grace and beauty.

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  9. It's amazing how many mansions are in the US that we've never heard of! (Never heard of the Pittock mansion personally.) I've toured Stan Hewett Hall in Akron, Ohio, as well as several of the Newport, Rhode Island mansions. I think Newport has at least 9 huge houses to tour, and they were just "summer cottages" for those rich people!

    Donna
    derobin7 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. There are too many to visit them all, Donna. I'm glad you've gotten the chance to visit some. Hard to imagine those huge houses being summer cottages. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I am always fascinated by the square footage! I would love to know more about how it was cleaned! I live in 900 square feet of house! This would perhaps be a closet to them!!

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    1. Lisa, I can't imagine how you would clean such a huge house. I know they had servants, but still... That is a lot of cleaning. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. I've visited several old houses or mansions, the one I loved the most was Hearst Castle on the central coast of California. It is amazing and has a colorful history.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. Merry, I've heard so much about Hearst Castle and read about it, but I've never been there. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. No I haven't visited it but I have seen some other historical houses - very interesting. =) truckredford(at)gmail(Dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. Historical homes are interesting.

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  13. Very excited for a chance to win Immigrant Brides! I really enjoy collections of stories. I have not visited the Pittock Mansion but it is now on my bucket list. I have stayed at the Cliff House in CO Springs and it is a Victorian mansion that is beautifully restored to an Inn. I have visited The Hearst Castle and it is amazing and so big and so much to see. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  14. I love walking through historical houses. I have never been in the Portland area of the West Coast but would love to visit the Pittock Mansion. Two of my favorite homes to visit are Boldt Castle and Singer Castle in the Thousand Islands near Alexandria Bay, NY (both circa 1900). They have beautiful wooden walls and furniture, elaborately-designed ceilings, and beautiful china dishes, paintings, and other furnishings.

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  15. Hi Nancy! The Pittock Mansion looks and sounds breathtaking! I definitely wish I lived closer so I could go see it! The only old mansions I've ever been in were The Hermitage in TN and once went to President Madison or Monroe's old homes in Virginia when I was 6 or 7 - which is why I'm not positive which one! Thanks for the chance to win Immigrant Brides, I've been dying to read it since it came out!
    kam110476 at gmail dot com

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  16. I have visited Bishop's Palace in Galveston, TX. It's beautiful.
    psalm103and138"at"gmail"dot"com

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  17. I can remember many of the fundraising events that went on in order to save the mansion. The cause swept Portland like a storm...a gentle but determined storm! And what a treat it was to finally have the opportunity to tour the place in the very beginning! And one tour simply wasn't enough!

    And now...all these years later...the site, the structure, the grounds, the views...it's a must-see on anyone's list of Portland destinations!

    Wear a pair of comfortable shoes and prepare yourself for a truly wonderful time!

    Every time I visit the place, I still see something new...and the ghosts are very, very friendly!

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